With summer comes an abundance of fresh herbs. But, it can be a bit of a nightmare if the abundance turns into an overload.
This recipe is fantastic for those times of abundance as well as just a wonderful creative use of fresh herbs. It helps you preserve those fabulous flavours to use through the winter months. Unlike dried herbs you find in the store, these will more closely resemble freshly chopped herbs.
In a previous recipe, we discussed making your own DIY Garlic Salt. This recipe follows the same concept of combining herbs with salt. The biggest difference is the ratio of salt to herbs.
This particular recipe can also be dried or left wet. If drying, it can be stored in the pantry. If you do not dry the mixture, you need to store it in the fridge.
When making garlic salt, the ratio is 3 parts SALT to 1 part GARLIC. But, the ratio for these preserved herbs is 3 – 4 parts HERBS to 1 part SALT. Whereas garlic salt is more of a salt infused with garlic flavour, this is primarily a way to preserve the herbs.
To measure, grab a one cup measure (or any size measure) and fill with salt. Use the same cup to measure your herbs. Be sure to loosely pack the measuring cup. If you are using herbs with more subtle flavour, go ahead and use 4 parts herbs to 1 part salt.
How to Use Preserved Herbs
- Preserved herbs can be used in any place where fresh herbs would be used
- Add to marinades, sauces, and stews
Although this recipe contains less salt than the garlic salt, it still has a lot. When using in recipes, reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe.
Make Many Variations
This basic recipe can be used to make many different herb mixtures. Simply create a fresh herb blend that you love (think of things like basil, thyme, oregano).
Many boutique markets and gourmet grocery store sections carry these kinds of preserved herbs. But they are very expensive. Look at the label. They are basically herbs and spices along with salt. If you want extra flavour combination inspiration, look at the labels to see what they use.
For this recipe, I went through my CSA and my herb garden and picked a variety of herbs: parsley, basil, sage, oregano and thyme. I like using this combination on pork, chicken and vegetables.
Possible Herb Combinations
- Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano
- Basil, Thyme, Oregano
- Basil, Dill, Lemon Zest
- Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Savory
- Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Bay
- Parsley, Dill, Basil
- Sage, Thyme, Parsley
- And many more combinations.
I like to use kosher salt because the grains are a nice size and texture. Do not use table salt, especially one that has added preservatives or iodine.
Keeping it Wet
This recipe focuses on keeping the herbs in the fridge as a wet mixture. Keep in mind that the optimum flavour is achieved after the mixture has been allowed to rest in the fridge for 1- 2 weeks. You will notice that the salt will break down the herbs and draw out some of the moisture over the first couple of weeks. This is normal.
Note: If you choose to add garlic, we recommend drying the mixture. This is due to the concerns over potential botulism.
Drying in the Oven
Drying the mixture is also a great option. Simply follow the steps for drying found in the DIY Garlic Salt recipe. The flavours will become a bit more concentrated when dried. Use less of the dried mixture than you would the wet mixture.
If you do not dry the mixture, it must be stored in the fridge. Preserved herbs will store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
If you find any mold appearing on the lid or the herbs, discard them. This could happen if the herbs or jar were not clean when you started out. When ready to use, be sure to scoop out what you need with a clean spoon and not your fingers.
If you choose to dry it, store your preserved herbs in an air tight container out of direct sunlight. Just as with any spice, the herbs will lose flavour if exposed to heat and sunlight. The flavours will retain for up to a year.
So, the next time you have an abundance of your favourite herbs, consider preserving them for future use.
Let us know if you create any tasty variations.
DIY Preserved Herbs Recipe
|Servings||Prep Time||Rest Time|
|1/2 Cup||5 minutes||1 Week|
- Measurement Note: The ratio for these preserved herbs is 3 parts HERBS to 1 part SALT. Be sure to loosely pack the herbs when you measure them.
- You can chop the herbs and salt using a knife or food processor.
- This is for a small batch of preserved herbs. You can easily double or triple the recipe.
- The best flavour comes after it rests for about 1 week
- 1 Cup Fresh Herbs
- 1/3 Cup Kosher or Pickling Salt