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It is a dried version of fresh basil. There are chances that basil may not be available all year round in the fresh form and thus, dried basil is used as a alternative in such circumstances.
Do note that dried basil will be more concentrated in flavour than fresh basil. Thus, whenever you use dried basil as a alternative for a recipe that demands fresh basil, use 1/3 rd the amount specified. The golden thumb rule is 1 tsp dried basil= 1 tbsp fresh basil.
To make dried basil at home, follow this time consuming yet easy recipe:
Wash the basil leaves and discard the rotten leaves. Place on mat and allow to dry under the sun till completely dry. It will dry completely by the end of 3 to 4 weeks and thus one has to be patient. Ensure that you do not crush the dried leaves while storing in glass jars. Crushing will create the volatile oils to reduce and the aroma and flavour will diminish.Thus, crush and use just when making the recipe.
How to select
When purchasing dried basil, look for the manufacturing and expiry date on the packaging. Ensure the pack is well sealed. It is better to purchase organic dried basil since it has the probabilities of not being irradiated. Irradiating basil may lead to significant decrease in Vitamin C and carotenoids.
· It is used to flavour pizza sauce along with other dried herbs like oregano, thyme etc.
· Use it to flavour omelettes, scrambled eggs, pasta etc.
· Use in marinades for roast meats, vegetables etc for an enhanced flavour.
· Use in herbal teas for health benefits.
How to store
Dried basil may have shelf life maximum up to 6 months. Store it in a glass container in a cool, dark place away from light and heat.
· Dried Basil is good for the respiratory system and can be consumed in preparation of herbal teas.
· It can also be used to treat throat and nose infections.
· Basil tea, made with dried basil is said to help recover from problems like dysentery, nausea and stomach ache due to gas.
· It stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence.
· It is traditionally used for treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes