Meyer Lemon, Garlic, & Cilantro Salt

This hand chopped Meyer lemon, garlic, & cilantro salt is quick to make, easy to use, and offers a simple way to keep from throwing out expensive herbs. You could just as easily use a bundle of parsley, a few sprigs of rosemary, or leaves from a package of fresh sage. And it’s an ideal project for the February’s Mastery Challenge topic – salt preserving. 

Ingredients for Meyer lemon, garlic, & cilantro salt

Last week, I bought a bag of cilantro. I needed just a few sprigs for a batch of soup I was making and didn’t have a good plan for the rest (so often the death knell for fresh herbs). Yesterday, with this month’s salt preserving challenge top in my mind, I went looking for that bag. It was a little wilted and a few leaves had gone slimy, but plenty was still useful and salvageable. And so I made a little batch of flavored salt.

half chopped ingredients for Meyer lemon, garlic, & cilantro salt

I cleaned the useable cilantro, gathered up a few cloves of garlic, grabbed a precious two Meyer lemons (from the batch that I got from Lemon Ladies last month), and pulled down a jar of salt. A big cutting board and a sharp knife and I was ready to go. I started by peeling and chopping the garlic, because it was the most dense of the ingredients I was working with. Once it was chopped down into manageable bits, started chopping in the cilantro (stems and all).

Once those two were well integrated, I grated the fragrant zest off the two lemons and added that to the pile. Finally, three tablespoons of sea salt. Chop, chop, chop – gather – and chop some more.

Finished Meyer lemon, garlic, & cilantro salt

Once I liked the consistency of the ingredients (not too fine, but relatively uniform and well-integrated), I spread it out on a plate and set it in the corner of my dining room to dry for a few days. Right now, it’s still damp, but after 48 hours, it should be quite crunchy and crumbly (and if it’s not, I’ll either let it sit for another day, or I’ll finish it off in the oven).

In small batches, hand chopped flavored salts like this are incredibly quick to make and a pleasure to use. You don’t need to dirty the food processor, or even be particularly precise with your measurements. It’s about extending the useful life of ingredients and making something that will bring easy flavor to basic cooking.

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14 responses to “Meyer Lemon, Garlic, & Cilantro Salt”

  1. I have a vintage O’Keefe and Merritt gas oven where the pilot light is always on. That puts the temp a bit over 100 degrees in the oven at all times.

    Could I put this in the oven rather than leaving it out?

    I’m thinking of doing this with basil instead of cilantro when basil is in season. I have fresh rosemary all year round and don’t use cilantro much.

    • Yes! That would work beautifully! And definitely sub in the basil when it’s available. This is a technique more than a recipe and easily be customized to your wants.

  2. This looks wonderful – and an easy little project! Would is use this in place of salt in a recipe I want a little extra seasoning? I am thinking on scrambled eggs, boiled potatoes, French green beans..is that the right idea? How long would this keep once it is dried?

    • That’s totally the right idea. I also like to grind it in a mortar and pestle once it’s dried and use it on popcorn. And it should keep at least six months once dried.

  3. That sounds so good! I wish I had been more on top of things when I had masses of parsley and other herbs growing in my garden last summer! We’ll see what comes back this year.

    • I don’t know what zone you’re in, but my parsley has overwintered well every winter. Also, if the plants were older and you let them flower and go to seed, they seem to do really well at re-seeding themselves. I accidentally spilled my parsley seed package in the garden several years ago and ever since I’ve been well-stocked! Hope yours comes back in some way 🙂

  4. This sounds really good – I will use basil and maybe marjoram, as we don’t like cilantro much, but the idea is wizard. My sister gave me a small container of “bacon salt” (yeah, bacon and salt) left over from a batch she made as a Christmas gift for a friend who apparently likes bacon in *everything* . . . I don’t use much salt so I haven’t figured out how to use that yet. This sounds much less overwhelmingly salty, and hence more useful.

  5. I’m thinking of combining lime zest, salt, cilantro, garlic and pepper corns to make a quick seasoning for guacamole (the way I like it best). Is pepper an okay addition?

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