Basil Update

Remember the day I (sort of) saved the basil? After setting it out to dry on some baking sheets, we finally completed the task of putting up the basil. What started out as three cookie sheets of fresh basil has dried and shrunken down into just this:

This is a quart jar of dried basil. There's also a fair amount of air space in that jar, because we like to put the leaves in whole (or at least as whole as possible when you're dealing with the transfer of brittle, dried leaves). We crush up the leaves just before we use them, which releases their aroma right as it goes into the dish. I'm not sure if this makes a huge difference in the amount of flavor that is saved, but we figure that the longer the leaves stay intact, the better off they are. The glass jar also helps to maintain more flavor than a plastic container, which can absorb some the essential oils that you want to save in your herbs.

The lesson here: next year we need to plant much more basil to store for the winter! At least, I'm pretty sure we do. Four plants (well, we lost a bunch) boiled down to a quart of dried basil and 12 1-oz. cubes of pesto. We'll see how far that actually gets us through the winter, do some algebra, and plant the appropriate amount next year to get us through a whole season.


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