Preserve your harvest, salvage dying supermarket herbs, and cure long-term depression with this free-form herb salt recipe.
Eager to get cooking? Skip To Recipe Here.
I moved to Central Texas with wild garden dreams. Too many years of living in a microscopic junior one-bedroom in San Francisco (that’s craigslist for crummy two-room studio), work burnout, and a failing marriage found me desperate for change, growth, and breathing room. I looked past my solitary window box of withered thyme (nailed directly to the side of the apartment building because there was no other way and I could count on my landlord not looking up), over the quiet, poop-stained alley, and off into a rainbow-washed distance where I conjured my fantasy garden.
Despite having visited Texas since childhood, I somehow arrived for my permanent residency expecting Mediterranean weather. It turns out that most Mediterranean plants including herbs such as thyme, oregano, and rosemary are seasonally challenged out here by the scorching summers and multi-freeze winters. Even now, eight years in, I am struggling to keep what must be my fifth thyme plant alive, those last three sprigs of green holding out against the encroaching tangle of inevitable death.
But there are some herbs I manage to grow successfully year after year, basil and dill among them. Preserving a hard-won harvest before the plants bolt is one of my most effective methods for feeling alive in an uncaring universe and ensuring there is something bright and green on the dinner table during the dormant garden months. I didn’t manage to save any of my basil last year and I missed it all winter long.
If you are buying herbs from the grocery store, you know that the death clock (Deathklok?) begins mercilessly ticking down the minute you lift those herbs from the shelf. In three days’ time, that basil will be black and wilted and there you’ll be, cataloguing your shortcomings in the harsh glare of your fridge light.
There is a better way.
Herb salt isn’t new, but it is new to me, and it helped saved my existential bacon this year. Whether you’re trying to make the most of your harvest or salvage those delicate packets of grocery store herbs, this salt is a long-lasting way to keep fresh(ish) herbs on your table year-round and feel like a high-achieving homesteader in the process.
Herb salt is easy to make, easy to store, and can be packaged up nicely (and cheaply) for gifts.
Play with this recipe as much as you want. Change up the herb-to-salt ratio based on your tastes and the potency of your herbs, experiment with combinations of herbs, dried spices even—you really can’t go wrong.
I use dill salt on salads, cheese boards, and in marinades. Basil salt is good on just about everything. Go wild.
1 cup Kosher Salt (I use a cheap coarse Kosher salt because that’s all I can get at my local grocery store, but any Kosher salt will do)
2 cups fresh herbs, cleaned and de-stemmed if needed.
Combine the salt and herbs in a food processor and whizz until herbs are finely chopped and incorporated with the salt. Adjust the quantity of herbs you use depending on how strong & fresh they are, how herby you want your salt, etc. See my tips for quantities below or do your thing.
Pour salt-herb mixture into large flat container, sheet pan, or large plate and allow to dry overnight, stirring occasionally, before storing in an airtight container.
Herb salt will keep well in a sealed container for several months before the flavors begin to diminish.
*Suggested herb quantities for 1 c Kosher salt
Basil 2-3 c
Cilantro 2-3 c
Dill 1-1.5 c
Parsley 2-3 c
Tarragon 2-3 c
Thyme 2-3 c
Oregano 1-2 c