If you’ve followed me on social media, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been busy at work, experimenting and creating all kinds of fun seasonings, syrups, ferments, oils and more. That’s the best part of growing your own vegetables, herbs and flowers – finding new ways to preserve them!
I would love it if everyone grew as much of their own food as possible and felt self-sufficient and free in their own kitchens, knowing that their families are benefiting and enjoying homegrown food. It’s not just the traditional meals that may be created with that food, but all the other possibilities too!
One of my favourite creations outside of traditional food is herb salts! Herbs salts are a great way to preserve your favourite herbs. Typically, people run out of ideas when it comes to herbs. Other than freezing and drying, most people stop there and get bogged down with an abundance of basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and others.
However, herb salts usually don’t require refrigeration. The salt acts as a natural preservative. As long as your herbs are dry, they will store on the shelf for at least a year and won’t lose their wonderful flavour and aroma.
Herb salts are unlike regular cooking salt. They are best used as a finishing salt, like flake salt or fleur de sel. Top your dishes with an herb salt and it will create complex flavours, improving an already delicious dish!
In this post, I will be discussing the process of making herb salts.
The process for making herb salt is a simple one. All you need are herbs and salt. Sounds simple, right?
Let’s start with the herbs.
In order to make herb salt, just about any herb will do.
Fresh herbs are ideal, since they contain high levels of essential oils. If you have fresh picked herbs, great! If you don’t grow your own herbs, grocery store herbs will be fine as well. Just be sure they are fresh and free of any wilt, mold or damage. However, if all you have are dry herbs in a spice jar and they are fairly new, you may use them as well. Again, the importance is freshness. The fresher the herbs, whether fresh off the plant or dried in a spice jar, they may be turned into an herb salt.
Now to the salt.
Can any salt be used to make herb salt?
Since table salt is heavily processed in order to eliminate minerals and contains additives to prevent clumping, it is not the ideal choice when making herb salt.
Sea salt occurs naturally when water evaporates from the salts, leaving behind trace minerals and elements. These minerals and elements enhance the flavour of the salt, making it more absorbent. As a result, sea salt comes in various forms from coarse to fine, flakey, grey, pink and fleur de sel. These varying shapes and sizes are necessary when making herb salt.
Armed with herbs and sea salt, let’s get started!
Directions for Making Herb Salt:
- Herbs – fresh or dry*, anything from rosemary to chives
- Fresh ingredients – garlic cloves, lemon zest, ginger, etc.
- Dry spices – cumin, fennel, black pepper, turmeric, etc.
- Sea Salt (coarse)
- Sea Salt (fine or pink himalayan, fleur de sel, flake, etc.)
- Food processor or blender
* Dry herbs have a concentrated flavour. If solely using dry herbs, use half the amount of equivalent fresh herbs.
- Choose your herb mix, whether fresh or dry herbs and ingredients, dry spices or a mixture of the above.
- Clean and dry all fresh herbs.
- Strip off any stems and remove damaged areas.
- Measure the total herbs used.
- Measure out coarse salt to match herb volume. For example, if you are using 1 cup of fresh herbs, measure out 1 cup of coarse salt. Coarse salt is necessary to assist in chopping the herbs and preventing them from turning into a paste.
- Place herbs and coarse salt in the food processor or blender.
- Pulse several times, then process until herbs are equivalent in size to the coarse salt.
- Measure sea salt to equal half the coarse salt used. For example, if you used a 1/2 cup of coarse salt, you will need 1/4 cup of sea salt.
- Add sea salt to the food processor and spin until the contents resemble a sandy texture and contents are all uniform in size.
- Spread salt mixture out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Leave the salt to dry for at least 2 hours or overnight. By doing so, you are ensuring the herb salt is fully dry for shelf stability. This step is important for long-term storage. If the sand remains damp, it will spoil in the jar.
- Once the salt is fully dry, break up any clumps with a fork or back of a spoon.
- Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
This general recipe is quite adaptable to any ingredients. Simply select the herbs of your choosing, measure out the correct amount of coarse and fine salt and blend them together in the food processor or blender. If you would prefer to use a mortar and pestle, you may do so. Simply chop the ingredients until fine and mash them together in the mortar.
Keep in mind that this is a finishing salt. A little goes a long way!
If you would like to try a couple of my herb salt recipes, they are available as a download. Simply click this link and they will be delivered in pdf format to your email.
Here are the tools that I mentioned in the post.