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            1. Monday, September 23, 2013

              The best food dehydrator for herbs!

              Fresh herbs are a real treat in the summer, but when fall arrives out comes the food dehydrator! Dehydrating the herbs that I grow over the summer gives me access to wonderful tastes all winter long. The best part is that I know how they were grown, so I know exactly what I'm adding to my food... Pesticide Free Goodness!

              Let me show you how I dehydrate Basil. This is one of my favorite herbs to grow and use. It is also often thought to be one of the trickiest herbs to dehydrate.  I'm going to bust that thought and show you how easy Basil is to dehydrate properly.

              Materials needed:
              Food Dehydrator (I highly recommend the Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging)
              Fresh Basil
              Kitchen Towel
              Zip Lock Bag

              Rinse Basil leaves 
              Pick your Basil from the plant and collect leaves in a bucket or colander.  Rinse leaves under running water while in the bucket. Just a quick soak and spray on the bucket of leaves, you don't need to hand wash every one of them. Then dump the bucket of rinsed leaves on a kitchen towel. Spread them out, allowing them to dry off. I have mounds of leaves and just move them around on the towel while waiting their turn for the dehydrator.

              Lump Basil Leaves on Dehydrating Tray
              Next you are going to place your leaves on dehydrator trays. How you do this part depends on your dehydrators quality and ability. If you have the square NESCO this is so easy - just lump handfuls of leaves on the tray. If you have another type of dehydrator you may need to place the leaves only one layer thick with room around each leave for air circulation. This method is not needed for the NESCO. Just lump the leaves on the trays and stack them up.

              Dehydrated Basil Leaves
              Next set the temperature, plug it in and come back in 6 hours. I set the NESCO for 135 degrees. It has a herb setting on the machine, but I've always used the fruit setting. After 6 hours come back, check your leaves for crunchiness, unplug your machine and dump your leaves into a Ziplock Bag. Keep drying leaves until you run out.

              Now you have the option to crush he dehydrated leaves or store them in a bag, an air tight shareable container, or what ever method you desire.

              Happy dehydrating!
              This is the product that I personally use.  It dehydrates all sorts of foods and has a large capicity for a very low price.  You also have the ability to purchase additional trays. I highly recommend this product.


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              3. Dried foods are very easy to store, and they contain essential nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Although you can find them at every store, dried foods tend to be very expensive. By using a food dehydrator, you can save a lot of money in the long term and avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
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