Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gift Idea: Homemade Herb Salt – Remember, You're Not Cheap, You're Creative!

Homemade, edible holiday gifts are kind of tricky. There is a fine line between giving a unique, thoughtful, carefully prepared gourmet goodie, and giving someone something that looks like it was just an easy way out. Hopefully, this beautiful looking and smelling fresh herb "finishing" salt will be seen as the former.

If this looks familiar, I did a similar version a few years ago for, and since I needed a Holiday-themed gift idea to film for this year's YouTube Holiday Solution Center, I decided to give it another go.

As you'll see, I used rosemary and lemon thyme, but other hearty green herbs will also work. By "hearty," I mean herbs that are sturdy and resinous, like savory, oregano, and marjoram. Fragile herbs like dill, chervil, and cilantro, just don’t work as well.

Answers to a few common questions: Yes, the color will fade within a few weeks, but the herby flavor and aroma will remain intact for much longer. There is no shelf-life limit, and this can be kept indefinitely.

I described this as a "finishing salt," meaning it's used to season cooked food at the table; however, it can also be used in place of regular salt in any recipe preparation. So, if you're looking for a cool, creative foodie stocking stuffer, or, well, you're just cheap, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes about 1 1/2 cups):
1/2 cup packed fresh herb leaves (I used rosemary and lemon thyme)
1/2 cup course sea salt
1 cup regular sea salt, or a flaky kosher salt

View the complete recipe


Carolyn™ said...

I think its a great idea. How long would it keep without spoiling?

Chef John said...

See 2nd to last paragraph. Thanks!

M-I-L said...

Hahaha ... There is no shelf-life limit, and this can be kept indefinitely. Were you thinking of my spice cupboard?

Basia said...

Would a tiny bump of powder food colouring help keep the colour without affecting the flavour?

Infinite Wishes said...

Awesome! Thanks Chef John! <3 :D

Would making other versions such as citrus salt work the same way? Or is there a catch to the peels?

Chef John said...

People do use citrus, but I've never tried it. Seems like it would work the same way.

Carolyn™ said...

OOOOps thanks I read to fast at times and dont absorb as much as I should. :)

I am not a good gardner but thyme and rosemary are two things that survive here.

Jack Parker said...

I'm really excited about this video! I know half a dozen foodies who will absolutely love getting this as a gift. None of them would ever think, "Wow, that was cheap." This is one of those items that's expensive to buy, if you can even find it. I can't find herbed salt here, and I live in Minneapolis. (I haven't looked for it but I get around and I've never seen it.)

Thanks so much for this video and recipe, John.

Web Redesign said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey , I'm still waiting for Michele's Winter Vegetable Lasagna. "The redo" as some poeple call it.
Merry Christmas
Your Friends in "F-en Freezing Upstate New York"

Wendy B. said...

Thank you, Chef John. "As always", you have shared a brilliant idea. My foodie friend and I were discussing this exact gift idea a couple of weeks ago and she is going to run with it for her family. I think she's even going to do some smoked salt. I only hope that I am one of the recipients!
After watching how easy it is, I think I will do some as well. You can never have too much salt....
Merry Christmas from the wet, wild and warm Canadian west coast!

PerennialPlate said...

I love the creative, homemade holiday gift idea. Youre right -- "homemade" can be tricky unless done right. Well done.

Chef John said...

Thanks everyone! And, happy holidays to you all as well!

Anonymous said...

i love this kind of gift.

thank you chef john!

happy holidays!

Т. said...

I will definitely try this ! So easy, fragrant and beautifully tasty :D
btw, great blog :)
greets, Theodora - Macedonia

Anonymous said...

Could you make this herb salt with dried herbs (dried in a dehydrator) from your garden or does it have to be fresh, rinsed, and dried herbs (as in towel dried)?