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A New Way to Preserve Herbs

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Chef Jeff Mahin teaches us how to make herb salt -- with whatever herbs you have in your crisper.

Preserving herbs

At this time of year, there's a lot of talk about preserving: Can your tomatoes! Jam those berries! Pickle that eggplant! 

There's a new way to get preserving, and it doesn't require a hot water bath or pounds and pounds of produce. In fact, you probably have the tools for it right now, knocking around your crisper drawer: fresh herbs.

Here's how to turn those herbs into a new pantry staple: herb salt.

At your local grocery store or farmer’s market, gather your favorite fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, dill, chives, or even flowers). The combination of herbs is up to your discretion, but for a good vegetable seasoning I recommend a blend of parsley, thyme and lemon zest.

Preserving herbs

Preheat your oven to 120°F (or the lowest setting possible on your oven -- even the pilot light would work for this). Wash all of your herbs, drying them as much as possible before spacing them out on a large sheet pan. Douse the herbs with a layer of kosher salt then add another layer of herbs, and repeat with another dousing of salt.

Herbs with salt from Food52

Place in oven and allow it to sit overnight. By the morning the herbs should be crisp and dry -- the salt helps to pull the water out of the herbs, and the heat of the oven dries them.

Dried herbs from Food52

Be sure herbs are completely dry before placing them in a blender or food processer. Blend or pulse to desired consistency.

Herb salt from Food52 Herb salt from Food52

Store dried herbs in a sealed tight mason jar in a cabinet where no light shines. 

Herb salt from Food52

How would you use your new herb salt? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom               

Tags: herbs, preserving, how-to & diy

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