I'm up to my elbows in food preservation, that's Fall I guess! I'm a busy lady and I live in a modest sized house so I don't have an abundance of time on my hands or extra room to store the harvest. That seems funny because some of the first things that people think about when storing the harvest is that it takes forever (not completely a lie) and that you need to have tons of storage to do so. I find that yes some types of preservation take forever (usually canning) and while those are the most convenient ways to have foods stored up for later use, there are also plenty of quick and equally convenient ways to store food.
There are many ways to dry and store herbs and it's best to dry them in a cool and dark room. I cut plenty of bundles and hang them to dry for later use for seasonings and teas. I do however have a mode of preservation that is far superior... RICHLY FLAVORED HERBAL SALTS. I love herbs stored in a state where they're ready and easy to use. I also like not having to have tons of herbs hanging everywhere, waiting to dry completely and go into jars.
This can be done with just about any herb and it's fabulous and even best to mix several varieties of herbs together. I'm making SAGE FLAVORED SALT because I have an abundance of sage and I use it in most of my Winter soups and find that having it in a salt form is very convenient. But just remember you can use any fresh herb you have on hand and a favorite mix of mine is Sage, Rosemary, Oregano & Thyme all combined together.
1) CUT FRESH HERBS. Make sure to pick off any dirty or discolored pieces. You want to be using the best. Give them a quick rinse and pat dry very well.
2) TEAR LEAVES OFF STEM, you just want to be using the leaf. If there's a few bits of stem here and there it's not a big deal.
3) GRAB YOUR SALT and no not all salts are created equally. I'm a big fan of Redmond Real Salt but use whatever your favorite is, whether that be Himalayan, Celtic Sea Salt, ect. Many salts contain anti-caking agents and even dextrose (sugar). Others have been heat processed and stripped of their natural trace minerals. So in a nut shell that's why I'm picky about my salt, but use whatever salt you like and have on hand.
4) PULL OUT YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR, this is a must for quickly combining your herbs and salts.
1 CUP SAGE LEAVES. Pack those leaves in tight, you want a tightly packed cup. You're aiming for a richly seasoned salt.
1 CUP SALT
I have mixed it many ways, but it probably is fastest to chop the herbs a bit first and then add the salt to the processor. It takes a bit to get them all incorporated You will need to remove the lid and scrape the sides several times.
Once it's all incorporated spread over a baking sheet to dry. You will feel the moisture of the herbs and the salt will continue to draw it out and then dry it fairly quickly. You can leave it on the counter for a few days (usually 3) until it's completely dry and then you can store in jars for later use. Stir it around once a day or so and that will help speed up the drying time.
You can also pop them in the your food dehydrator (if you have one) for a few hours at about 105 degrees, whatever is convenient for you.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. You can also get away with adding a bit higher herb ratio. This recipe is a 1:1 but you could also do as much as a 2:1 herb salt ratio with success, the drying time just might be a bit longer.
I find that preserving them in salt helps preserve the flavor of the herbs much better than just air dried herbs. Plus, I love having beautiful and fragrant herbal salts at my disposal come Winter.
I hope you found this recipe helpful! If you liked it, make sure to check out my Brandied Plum recipe HERE which shows you a very quick way to preserve plums and other soft fruit.
Thanks for being here!
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