August 11, 2011

Herb Salt

After weeding the garden beds this past weekend, I decided that I would use my herbs in a variety of new ways this year. Thoughts of rosemary potatoes, pots of bubbly tomato soup, herbed focaccia....all began dancing in my head.

Herb Salt

1 cup of mixed, dried herbs (dill, rosemary, chives, lemon verbena, tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, lemon thyme, sage)
1 cup sea salt

Mix the herbs and sea salt in a large bowl. Stir. Use mortar and pestle to pound mix or food processor to blend. Spread on a cookie sheet. Bake the salt mixture at 200 degrees for 45 minutes to dry the salt and stir frequently to break up lumps. Cool the herb salts completely before storing them in clean, airtight containers.

It's best to use this recipe when fresh, so if you're thinking of giving these goodies as gifts, simply dry fresh herbs (see below) and make salt mixture just before giving.

Drying Herbs

Air dry - Bundle herbs and dry upside down in a cool, well ventilated room, while keeping dust and sunlight exposure to a minimum. Once they are completely dry, store them in jars. (You can use a screen or cheesecloth instead of the hanging method, but they'll need to be flipped to dry properly.)

Oven dry - Lay individual herbs out on a baking tray (so they don't touch) and bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Be careful. Some herbs, like sage, may ignite. Store them in jars.

Refrigerator dry - Place small-leaved herbs on a plate and place in the refrigerator. For larger-leaved herbs, like basil, place leaves on a tray in the refrigerator. Check on them frequently and stir them around to avoid wilting and to ensure an even drying process. (Each type of herb has different drying times.) Once they are dry, place them into containers or freezer bags.

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