I really dig my little herb garden (see what I did there?). There’s something pretty damn awesome about caring for a plant for a couple of months, watching it grow and then reaping the reward by having a decent supply of home grown produce at hand 24/7, in the prime of it’s season.
Buying herbs from shops, you’re never really sure how fresh they are and generally end up only using half of the box, while the rest wilts and goes to waste.
Growing your own means you only pick what you need, when you need it. That said, sometimes the plants can grow a little out of control, which would require you to prune down a bit. The end result of this is that you may end up with a large amounts of herbs you have no clue what to do with.
This is the situation I found myself in a while back. I pruned my herbs and had more basil than I could use in my regular cooking. I started thinking about how I could preserve some of it, apart from making pesto and freezing it of course, and the idea of making a herb salt came to mind.
The recipe below is for plain Basil Salt, but you can of course use other herbs and spices to make up your own flavours as you go. This mix works great on fresh, ripe tomatoes and adds an extra layer of flavour to something like a Caprese Salad, or even the odd Toasted Cheese and Tomato sarmie.
It’s really easy to do, and a great way of using left over herbs, just reduce the amount of salt depending on how much herbs you have on hand.
- 80 – 100gm gm Fresh Basil
- 500gm Flaked Sea Salt (like Maldon)
Pick (or buy), wash and dry your basil leaves, and chop it up on a cutting board, roughly at first. Add half of the salt and keep chopping the mixture until it is thoroughly mixed through.
Once the basil is cut up fine enough to your liking, add the rest of the salt to the board and mix through with your hands. You want the salt to suck up all the basil juice, thereby taking on the flavour.
To dry the mixture, spread it out on a suitable oven proof container and bake it for about an hour at around 100° C, stirring it with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes or so. You could also leave it in a sunny spot for a day or two to dry out, but I am way too impatient for that.
After drying, break up any lumps that may have formed with your hands and let it cool (if you used the oven method that is). Store in airtight containers and enjoy!