Dehydrated Basil

I love basil.

I LOVE LOVE fresh basil, among other herbs, but especially basil.

Due to my recent trip to Chicago and a head cold that just refuses to go away, I have not been in the kitchen for a good two weeks. You may have noticed by the lack of posts at the beginning of the month. What has come of this is a huge basil plant that I refuse to let go to waste. In comes the dehydrator.

If you don’t have one of these and hate waste as much as I do, you really, really should get one. They are not that expensive, and although I do not use it often throughout the year, when I do use it, it is REALLY handy.

Like most, I use my dehydrator a lot in the spring and summer when produce is plentiful, but there are lots of uses for it year-round, as well.

Case in point is all this beautiful, sweet, fresh basil :) Fresh is always best, but I’ll take this over no basil any day.

You can dehydrate a multiple of things from fruit, to vegetables, to herbs, to meat. Here are a few dehydrator tips for year-round use:

Spring & Summer: (Almost) any seasonal fruit and veggie can be dehydrated. Just think about all those tomatoes you’ve grown (or been given) this year. You don’t have to freeze or can them all. Make sun-dried tomatoes or tomato powder and use them all year long in a variety of ways. And what about banana chips? If you like making your own trail mix, bananas dehydrate beautifully. Any fruit or vegetable you have an abundance of can be dehydrated as well as it can be canned or frozen. Just remember that fruits which easily bruise should be brushed with an acidic like lemon juice or even honey to help preserve while dehydrating.

Click here to see what Kitchen Stewardship says about dehydrating fruit and the recipes.

Fall & Winter: You’re not out of dehydrating options just because the weather is colder. A bounty of veggies are available even after the Autumn apples are gone, starting with mushrooms and gourds of all types. My favorite? Kale :) They make great chips! Just lightly coat with a little EVOO, salt & pepper, and wait until crispy.

*Dehydrated apples and mushrooms come in handy at this house all the time. I rarely buy fresh mushrooms because I’m the only one in the house who likes to eat them. But sometimes a recipe calls for them and no substitute will do. That’s when I can grab a handful from the jar and the re-hydrating is minimal with {albeit} decent results compared to fresh. However, I will say that in some recipes even dried is no substitute for fresh mushrooms.

The apples come in handy for several reasons. First is just for munching- they are a very good source of fiber and are filling without adding tons of calories. Much like a regular apple, of course. But the best is having a hankering for apple pie or some type of pastry and being able to use an all-natural filling instead of some BPA-filled canned apple goop.

Check out this link for some unique dehydrator recipes from Food.com.

Summer is coming to a close and Fall will be here before you know it. Get out your dehydrators and make use of your summer produce so you can enjoy it throughout the winter months. You’ll be glad you did! :)

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