Sunday, November 2, 2014

DIY Herb Salt

Fall garden clean-up is a sad business, but inspiration Pinterest  struck when I was ready to take in the herb pots.  Last year I discovered how to preserve herbs in frozen olive oil cubes and I did a few more this year.  I saw some pins for cute little jars of herb salt and voila, found my idea for Christmas gifts for The Captain's office staff.

The most difficult part of this was finding the jars.  I searched online and couldn't find anything that I liked.  Then while browsing at Le Roux, a local kitchen store,  I found the perfect little pot-belly jars. They didn't have quite enough, but had some sent down from their Portland store for me.   Sometimes I forget how helpful local brick-and-mortar stores can be!

The recipe for the herb salt is pretty simple and easily altered to personal preferences, herbs available, etc..  I looked at several different recipes and came up with my version:
   4 cups chopped herbs ( I used parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme - yes, like the song!)
   3 cups sea salt (I used a combination of kosher and sea salt since that's what I had)

You could add chopped onion and / or garlic or make an Italian flavored one with oregano, basil, parsley or any other combo that speaks to you.

First up - chopping herbs.  You could do this in a food processor, but I like the hands-on chopping better.  Seems somehow therapeutic.

Then mix herbs and salt:

Nest step is to dry the mixture a bit before packing into jars. You could spread it out on cookie sheets and let it air dry for 24 hours or so.  I spread out the salt mixture on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and baked it at 200 degrees for two hours.   An added benefit of this method - the house smelled wonderful!

The salt will be a bit crunchy after baking.  I used a wooden spoon to break up the crusts.

Then, pour the salty goodness into jars- my funnels were too narrow so I used a rolled up piece of printer paper fitted into the jar - perfect.

Here are my sweet little jars full of herb-y, salty goodness.

Added hand-made tags with a wooden bead and some baker's twine and now the jars are properly festive.

I made three batches - it took two batches to fill the jars (twenty-five)  and then another batch for home in one of the empty sea salt jars.

Holiday gifts made before last minute panic - what a new, exciting concept!

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