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As the name suggests, dried basil refers to sun-dried fresh basil. Since fresh basil may not be available all year round, dried basil is used as an alternative.
Dried basil has a more concentrated flavour than fresh basil. Thus, whenever you use dried basil as an alternative in recipe demands fresh basil, use only one-third of 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 a mat and allow to dry under the sun till completely dry. This might take three to four weeks.
• Store the dried basil in an airtight container. Make sure you do not crush them when storing, as crushing will release the volatile oils and reduce the flavour and aroma of the dried basil. Crush the dried basil just before using in a 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, as others might be irradiated. Irradiating basil may lead to significant decrease in vitamin C and carotenoids.
• Dried basil is used to flavour pizza sauce along with other dried herbs like oregano, thyme etc.
• It is a wonderful seasoning for salads and pastas.
• Add it to herbal teas for health benefits.
• Can be used in marinades too.
How to store
• Dried basil has a maximum shelf life of six 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 as herbal tea with or without other herbs.
• It can also be used to treat throat and nose infections.
• Basil tea, made with dried basil helps recover from problems like dysentery, nausea and stomach ache due to gas.
• It stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence.
• It aids in the treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes.