Each month, I try to do two live demos on Facebook. They’re scheduled for the first and third Mondays of the month at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT and they’re a good way to see what’s happening in my kitchen and ask questions about recipes, the monthly Mastery Challenge topics, and other food preservation topics.
Tonight I’m doing one such livestream (or will have done so, depending on when you read this!). This time, I’m going to demonstrate how to make the Salt Preserved Herbs from my book Preserving by the Pint. In this recipe, you combine soft herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, and dill with goodly portion of salt. The salt draws out the water and cures the herbs.
After a few days, you have a flavorful condiment that can be stirred into soups, salads, dips, eggs, and more. It’s a really flexible recipe as well, which means that you can use whatever soft herbs you have (for those of you who garden, it’s a great way to preserve your end of season garden herbs).
Another great thing about this preserve is that it keeps indefinitely in the fridge. Just make sure to use clean utensils when going in for a dollop to help extend the useable lifespan of the herbs.
Salt Preserved Herbs from Preserving by the Pint
- 8 ounces mixed soft fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, mint, etc
- 6 ounces coarse sea salt
- Wash and dry the herbs well. Pluck the leaves from the stems and roughly chop them by hand (a food processor often turns them to paste). Scrape the herbs into a bowl and add the salt. Using clean hands, toss the herbs and salt together until well combined.
- Funnel the herb mixture into a quart jar, apply a lid, and place it in the fridge. Every day for a week, give the jar a good shake to help combine the herbs and salt.
- At the end of the week, it should have reduced in volume by about half.
- Transfer herb salt to a pint jar and fit with an airtight lid. It will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.
This looks great and I plan to try it this summer when we finally have fresh herbs again. Right now everything is still under the snow.
I’m assuming the volume of the herbs is 8oz. Is the salt likewise being measured by volume, or is it be weight?
It’s not a volume measure, it’s a weight measure. I weigh the herbs and I weigh the salt.
are your live lessons preserved somewhere for those of us that couldn’t make the live demo to watch later? I was sorry to miss this and would love to see what you taught.
All the videos I do live forever on Facebook. Here’s the link to this one: https://www.facebook.com/FoodinJars/videos/2154746457947477/
I love this recipe! I’ve used it the past few years to use up all the garden herbs at the end of the growing season. It’s great to rub on a chicken with some olive oil for roasting. I never would have thought of preserving herbs this way until I saw it in your book. Thank you.
That’s a great idea! I’d never thought of using it in that way!
So glad I found this now! I recently started growing herbs in an aerogarden, and have an abundance of fresh herbs that I need to use. Thank you!!
Would this recipe work with fine grain sea salt?
I find that I prefer the texture with a larger grain salt, but there’s no issue with using a finer grain salt. It’s really just a matter of preference.
Would thus work with sage or is it too firm of flesh to be effectively preserved?
I’ve not tried it with sage, but I imagine it would work. I would make sure to combine it with other, less assertive herbs, though.
I have been putting fresh herbs in salt in clean jars and keeping them on the counter in my kitchen. I don’t think I have room for them in our refrigerator. Must they be refrigerated? The salt (kosher salt) does draw out the liquid from the herbs, even when they have been washed and dried first.
I have used the salt to add some flavor when salting a stew, for example. I don’t even have to add the herbs, although some might end up in the pot.
I flip the jars over from time to time because the contents settle.
Question: is refrigeration required?
Yes. They will start to eventually spoil if you keep them out.
Could you add lemon zest or garlic to the herb mix? I’m trying to think of flavors that I enjoy having together and how to possibly blend them into one jar for future use.
I was wondering if you can can the preserve, either in a water bath or pressure canner, so that they can be shelf stable until opened. Thanks
This preserve cannot be processed. It’s only for the fridge.
As an alternative, I bake my salt and herb mixture on the lowest oven setting to dry it out. Maybe 20-40 minutes, depending on volume and moisture. The dried herb-salt mix wouldn’t have the same freshness but it’s great when you have no fridge space. (It also makes nice Christmas gifts.)
That’s a great idea too!
I may just be dense, but I’m not sure how to use this in recipes. Do I go by the amount of salt called for, or maybe a little more to allow for the bulk of the herbs.
I don’t typically use it in a recipe situation, as I cook mostly by feel. However, if you are a recipe person, I’d say to start with the measurement the recipe suggests for salt, and then add more as necessary.
Salted herbs is a popular and traditional condiment in my native region. Some people would alternate layers of herbs and salt in a jar, so they’d keep adding different herbs depending on what was available until the jars are full, then put them away for storage in a cellar. It’s also common to add very finely chopped (brunoise-sized) vegetables like carrots, parsnips, celery or leek. When using in a recipe, omit the salt and replace by an equal volume of herbs. It’s wonderful in salad dressings, omelets, buttered potatoes or mash.
Thanks so much for sharing your variations! I love the idea of adding some very finely chopped veg to the mix!