The most popular way to preserve herbs is to dry them. I do my fair share of herb drying. I have a small dehydrator that I have been running almost daily now since my herb harvest began. I dry them in batches and vacuum seal them for later when I make my herb blends (that’s another post). I am always seeking a way to use fresh herbs.
You can also preserve herbs in oil with garlic, chilies or other flavorings. This year, I decided to give herb salt a try. Why not have flavored salts at the ready to season fresh tomatoes or meats headed for the grill? The best part is that it’s a cinch to make.
Himalayan Pink Salt
You can use whatever type of salt you like. I used Himalayan pink salt for this particular herb blend. Why? Lately I’ve been into health benefits of the salt. Well, that and my friend plus co-farmers market vendor,Himalayan pink salt, introduced me to the pink salt. Himalayan pink salt is one of the purest salts available. It derives from the Punjab region of Pakistan, about 300 km from the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains.
Unlike kosher or refined salt, Himalayan pink salt contains a full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements. It’s a raw salt mined from salt deposits formed about 250 million years ago. Does it taste different? Yes. It’s not as “salty” per se. Add those health benefits of the salt with the benefits of herbs, and you have a flavorful yet good for you spice mix!
Types of Herbs
You really can’t go wrong with herb salt. Just choose your favorite herb combo. For my recipe, I went with a Tuscan theme: rosemary, sage, thyme and garlic. This herbal combination tastes great on fish, poultry, veggies ( especially tomatoes, potatoes or white beans) and even popcorn. Try a marinara blend: basil, parsley, oregano and garlic. The sky’s the limit here. Once you have harvested your herbs, give them a good wash and make sure they are thoroughly dry.
How to Make Herb Salt
You will need:
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup Himalayan pink salt, sea salt or kosher salt (a finer grind, not chunky)
- About 2 cups loosely-packed fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme (for the Tuscan) or what ever herbs you fancy
Strip the herbs from their stalks and give them a rough chop. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife and chop them in with the herbs.
Add some of the salt to the garlic/herb pile and continue to chop. Of course, you may use a food processor to do this step. Just add the herbs, garlic cloves and about half of the salt, then process. I like to do this by hand because I find it relaxing; it’s my zen moment. If you prefer to skip the zen-chop, by all means, process on!
Once you get the herbs and garlic finely chopped, add the rest of the salt and mix. The salt will be slightly wet at this point. Spread the salt on a cookie sheet and let it dry for a couple of hours. If you are in a hurry, turn your oven on warm (170 degrees Fahrenheit) and pop the cookie sheet in. Turn off the oven and let it sit until it’s dry to the touch. Your house will smell wonderful.
Add the herb salt to a jar and voilà: herb salt. The fresh herbs are now preserved 🙂 These salts make wonderful gifts for a foodie or a hostess. Make small batches of herb salts all season as you cut herbs. This way, you will always have ready made gifts.
Sprinkle your herb salt on anything you like salted! My recommendation is a nice, juicy vine-ripened tomato. Enjoy!