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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drying Basil and Saving Basil Seeds

My basil has reached the end! There was a storm that came through and from the rain and wind most of my basil was uprooted or laying over. So its drying time!! I clipped off all the basil that was laying over or uprooted and it ended up being 13 lbs...yes I cant believe how much basil we got from just a few plants!!! We still have about 13-15 more pounds out there, but it was still standing tall and growing strong so I left it! I was going to dry all the basil inside or in the dehydrator, but after seeing the large quantity I knew it wouldn't all fit in the oven or dehydrator so I thought I would give "air drying" a try!

I started by attaching some string to a nail and stretching it across the front of the garage door so I could have a place for the basil to drip dry after being rinsed off...I knew I didn't have this much space in my house!


I rinsed off all the basil and then tied them in bundles and clipped them to the string. (As you can see it is a significant amount of basil. I seriously had no intention of growing this much basil, but I am very glad I did now!!). I left the basil hanging throughout the remainder of this hot hot day to get rid of as much moisture as possible from the rinsing.
 Once all the basil is dry you can also use this time to save seeds!! The seeds are located in little pods in the flowers. I put a few arrows showing pods, although there are pods located at the center of each mini flower. Holding onto the stem, I would pull the flowers off of the stem.

 Once all the flowers are pulled from the stem, smash the flowers around in your hand and all the little seeds will come out! Very simple and a great way to get the kids involved!
 With that idea in mind and ALOT of dried basil to separate, I got a colander ready. This particular colander had small enough wholes for the seeds to fit through and fall out of the bottom, but to keep the main leaves in the bowl for saving!
I stripped the leaves and flowers from the stems and filled the colander. Then I crunched up the leaves gently to help release the seeds and gave it a good shake...
...out came the seeds!



I ended up with so much dried basil and more seeds than I will probably ever need!!

I was left with quite a few dried stems so I put them in the backyard for the chickens and goats. The goats loved them and started munching away on them. I didn't think the chickens would like them too much, but they sure did get excited about the seeds I left behind on the stems. The chickens were pecking away and I was surprised how they could easily spot out a seed pod and with one swift peck the seed would fly out and they had their little treats :)
I divided the basil into two 1 gallon jars (Yes, I have 2 gallons of dried basil! Wooo hooo!). One of the jars has the larger leaves and the other jar has the crushed leaves and a few of the dried basil flowers.

I have a half pint mason jar full of seeds and small crushed leaves. I am still trying to figure out how to separate all the leaves from the seeds, or I might just end up planting the seeds with the loose crushed leaves that made it through the sifter...who knows, but I'm excited!!





5 comments:

  1. I didn't know where the seeds were located! THANKS!!! Hopefully I can remember to get my seeds out before I say good-bye to my basil plants...

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  2. Well if you forget, I have more than enough to spare some for you ;)

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  3. This post was just what I needed. I planted a lot of basil this past summer and I have lots of it. I think as much as what you had. :) We are supposed to get a frost the day after tomorrow and I definitely want to harvest my seeds. In the year before I harvested them once they dried on the plant. This time, I won't have time to do that and I was worried how I was going to plant basil next year. Now I know! Tomorrow I will harvest most of the basil, rinse it off and begin drying it. TFS!

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