Monday, March 18, 2019

Herb Salts

Making your own herb salts couldn't be easier. First you need to choose your salt. Here are just a few types:

Himalayan Pink
The color hues of this sea salt range from light pink to dusky rose to deep red. Formed about 600 million years ago when a great inland sea evaporated, Himalayan Pink salt’s gorgeous palette comes from a variety of trace minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, and potassium, among others, which have been trapped in the salt crystal matrix (Bitterman, 2013).

Celtic Gray

Celtic gray sea salt is blue-gray in color and carries a distinctly mineral-rich flavor. Derived from Brittany, France, this salt gets its distinct color from the earthen clay from which it is harvested. Its traditional uses in cooking range from finishing on savory dishes to being finely ground and added to baked treats to create a “richness” in other flavors (Bitterman, 2010).

Black Hawaiian
Jet black in color, black Hawaiian sea salt actually gets its unique hue from activated charcoal added during or after the drying process is complete. Although it is traditionally derived through evaporation over volcanic soils (hence its other common names, “volcanic” or “lava” salt), this aspect does not impact the color of the sea salt (Bitterman, 2010). The flavor is earthy and slightly tannic.

Fleur de sel
Translated as “flower of the salt,” this unique sea salt is made by evaporating saline water in the open air with energy from the wind and sun (Bitterman, 2010). Since these salts already have a high about of moisture in them, the crystals are able to resist instantly dissolving when sprinkled over a plate of steaming food. This means that the flavor profile will be more pronounced and the salt will maintain a slight crunchiness.

Red Hawaiian
There are several different types of red Hawaiian sea salt ranging from brick red to pale or dark salmon in color. As the red color implies, red Hawaiian sea salts are rich in iron. Like black Hawaiian sea salt, the color is not derived from the salt itself but from the red volcanic clay, called Alaea, that is mixed with the salt during natural evaporation in tidal pools. The flavor of these salts is oceanic with a mineral undertone (Bitterman, 2010). 

Persian Blue

The pale sky blue color of Persian blue sea salt alludes to its mild, silky, and slightly sweet flavors. Although it is rich in trace minerals, its distinctly blue color is derived from the natural compression of the salt over long periods of time. Considered one of the more rare sea salts available on the market, Persian blue sea salt also carries a high price tag (Bitterman, 2010).

While smoked sea salt does not lend any additional nutritional content, the smoky flavor is rich, distinct, and favored by chefs all over the world. The process of smoking sea salt is typically done over hot coals at a low temperature. Through this process, the salt takes on a slightly tan or gray color (Bitterman, 2010). (Reference: The Herbal Academy)

Now Choose Your Herbs!

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
I was looking for a blend we could use to rub on thick cut pork chops, steaks or chicken when we were grilling.

Curly Parsley
Recently we cut some Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, Curly Parsley, Oregano and Thyme, so I went after something a bit Tuscan in flavor. I also chose to use a Garlic French Sea Salt from a purveyor in Maryland who makes small batch flavored sea salts.

For longer shelf life, I first dried the herbs and then blended a bit of everything together with some of the salt. It was literally a taste experiment, adding a bit more of this or that, until the flavor was where I wanted it. You don't want the salt to overpower the herbs, so starting with a little and adding more is the way to go.

1 tbls. dried Flat Italian Parsley
1 tbls. dried Curly Parsley
1 tbls. dried Oregano
1/2 tbls. dried Sage
1/2 tbls. dried Thyme
1-2 tbls. sea salt of your choosing, to taste (I used *Garlic French Sea Salt)
*If not using Garlic French Sea Salt, add 1-2 tsp garlic powder, to taste

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor and process until it's the consistency you want. Store in air-tight mason jar. Use as a rub on pork, beef or poultry. Especially good on grilled meats.


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