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Thread: dried basil

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    dried basil

    my local Sainsbury's in UK sells all manner of dried herbs and spices, just like any normal shop. But Schwartz only do the normal basil, dried. what i want is Thai holy basil. i've wasted so much of fresh holy basil from a shop in peterborough its unreal. so i asked the chinese shop owners have they an idea on how to make it dry, so it keep longer without going off.

    didnt have a clue.

    so i thought about doing it myself. seeing as uk has had some pretty foul weather as of yet, i thought of using a hot frying pan and chop up the 3 bundles of basil which i paid 3 for. took 2 days to dry the stuff and 2 weeks for it to go mouldy.

    so how the hell to Schwartz keep their spices intact without going off?

    is there a Thai equivalent which is sold in Tesco Lotus in Thailand which i might be able to find here in UK?

    3 for 3 bundles of Basil i'm only going to use a few times a week is a bit expensive and a complete waste

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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao View Post
    my local Sainsbury's in UK sells all manner of dried herbs and spices, just like any normal shop. But Schwartz only do the normal basil, dried. what i want is Thai holy basil. i've wasted so much of fresh holy basil from a shop in peterborough its unreal. so i asked the chinese shop owners have they an idea on how to make it dry, so it keep longer without going off.

    didnt have a clue.

    so i thought about doing it myself. seeing as uk has had some pretty foul weather as of yet, i thought of using a hot frying pan and chop up the 3 bundles of basil which i paid 3 for. took 2 days to dry the stuff and 2 weeks for it to go mouldy.

    so how the hell to Schwartz keep their spices intact without going off?

    is there a Thai equivalent which is sold in Tesco Lotus in Thailand which i might be able to find here in UK?

    3 for 3 bundles of Basil i'm only going to use a few times a week is a bit expensive and a complete waste
    here's a trick I use:

    never tried it on basil, but it works like a charm on mint, so could be ok for basil.
    freeze the stuff in a plastic bag, some air in the bag.
    once frozen, just crumple up the bag and it breaks into small pieces ready to use as much or as little of as you need.
    doesn't lose it's flavour like the dried stuff does.
    let us know if it works
    cheers.
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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsicar
    freeze the stuff in a plastic bag, some air in the bag.
    That works. I've got loads in my freezer right now.

    One suggestion, rip it, don't cut it.

    Seems to deal with freezing better.

    The alternative, of course, is to store it in oil. Works really well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsicar View Post

    here's a trick I use:

    never tried it on basil, but it works like a charm on mint, so could be ok for basil.
    freeze the stuff in a plastic bag, some air in the bag.
    once frozen, just crumple up the bag and it breaks into small pieces ready to use as much or as little of as you need.
    doesn't lose it's flavour like the dried stuff does.
    let us know if it works
    cheers.
    cheers for that one mate. i've seen frozen lime leaves in the same manner in the chinese shop

    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tsicar
    freeze the stuff in a plastic bag, some air in the bag.
    That works. I've got loads in my freezer right now.

    One suggestion, rip it, don't cut it.

    Seems to deal with freezing better.

    The alternative, of course, is to store it in oil. Works really well.
    yea, the chinese woman said that and i had visions of the greasy mess they have in Taiwan and philippines, as thats what they do to chilli, and its more oil that actual spice.

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    [quote=jandajoy;1303776]
    Quote Originally Posted by tsicar

    One suggestion, rip it, don't cut it.
    rip what? the basil?

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Thing is you use basil to flavour stuff. So, infuse a good quality olive oil with fresh basil then use the oil. It works really well.

    Also with chiilies, garlic, mint...... just about anything really.

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao
    rip what? the basil?
    Yup, tear it don't cut/slice it...........

    That's what Nona always said. Works for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    Thing is you use basil to flavour stuff. So, infuse a good quality olive oil with fresh basil then use the oil. It works really well.

    Also with chiilies, garlic, mint...... just about anything really.
    the only time i have seen the holy basil in oil is in the jar which also has the chili. went through a jar of it in 2 days! just add that to chicken and mmmm, great stuff.

    so i would asume i just have a large jar full of the basil leaves and top it up with olive oil?

  10. #10
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    Mrs Kerr freezes the holy basil she doesn't use. Why not plant in a pot and grow in your flat/house, should be fine I reckon.

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao
    so i would asume i just have a large jar full of the basil leaves and top it up with olive oil?
    That's the way.

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    You could always use a food dehydrator or set your oven to 125F, crack the door, and put the basil in there for about an hour or two. However, basil pretty much loses the potency of its flavor when it's dried. Consider making a pesto, salted with a bit of lime juice to preserve the color.
    Eat more Cheezy Poofs!

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    Thanks for all your help guys. anyway, i have another small matter, and its nothing to do with basil, and i didnt wanna start a whole topic for something which is gonna be answered in one.

    i can't remember how the Thai preserved the chili's that you help yourself to while you're eating. i can't remember if it was soy sauce, vinegar or fish sauce. i bought some light vinegar and chopped 50 chilli's. added some to my basil chicken and rice and figured i should of used fish sauce.

    dam, i should of paid more attention.

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    Fish sauce, but only lasts a few days anyway, oil is best for basil, last for weeks that way.
    TeakDoor.com - The Thailand Forum Thai Basil
    Some more here on Thai Sauces.

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    In Italy I stored Basil, Chillies, garlic, mint and God knows what else in good olive oil. Never failed.

    Mixing them up is good.

    For basic pasta sauces I'd have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil with a load of garlic, basil and a fair amount of chilli ( personal taste).

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    normally herbs can be dried by hanging bunches of them in the kitchen or airing cupboard until dry

    if they go mouldy later (as you mentioned) then they are not dry enough or you are keeping them in a damp place

    anyway, just freezing them is the easiest option, as suggested

    another way is to buy the plants and cut off what you need. Thai Basil would be difficult to find as plants so maybe you need to find the seeds first
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    I like the chilis in vinegar the Thais use for their noodles. Cut up some chilis and pickle them in white vinegar. Lovely, and last forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    normally herbs can be dried by hanging bunches of them in the kitchen or airing cupboard until dry
    You can dry them then cure them in jars, opening the jars once a day to let new air circulate. I used to cure my homegrown marijuana in much the same way back in the UK. Provides a much smoother and quality smoke than just drying alone.

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    i stored some basil with olive oil and it worked a treat. one more thing before i go.

    once i have used the last of the basil, would i throw away the olive oil, or still keep it in the cupboard/fridge till next time i fill it up again?

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao
    would i throw away the olive oil,
    NO.

    That basil enthused oil will be wonderful.

    Fantastic stuff.

    Drizzle on bruschetta, toast, pizza, baked potatoes anything.

    Fry your eggs in it, with a bit of butter.

    Fry off chopped tomatoes, bacon and some finely sliced sausage of your choosing.

    Delicious.

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