At first glance, flavored salt might strike you as a “why bother?” type of project. Who has time to make their own flavored salt when you can just grab a jar of seasoning salt from the spice aisle at the grocery store? But the arguments for making your own seasonings are much stronger than the lazy argument against.
- Making flavored salt is quick and easy. You probably already have some of the ingredients right at your fingertips: kosher or sea salt, fresh herbs, spices, dried mushrooms and citrus fruit are a great place to start.
- Making flavored salt is fun. Make one and you’ll immediately find yourself brainstorming new combinations. What about cocoa powder-espresso salt for steak? Or spicy sumac salt for seafood and vegetables? Stock up on glass jars, because you’re going to want to make one batch after another.
- Fresh is best, even when it comes to dried seasonings. Homemade flavored salt adds more vibrant flavor to your meals and has health benefits to boot. No one really knows how long that store-bought seasoning salt has been sitting on the store shelf or how long that same seasoning salt then sits in your pantry. Homemade flavored salt can be made in small batches with organic ingredients, promising fresh flavor and antioxidants.
A few guidelines to get you started:
- Use kosher or sea salt
- The flavorings added to the salt should be dried
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of flavoring for every 1/4 cup (60 ml) of salt
- Once the flavoring and salt are mixed together, briefly grind in a coffee grinder, food processor or mortar and pestle to really combine the flavors (briefly and gently; you don’t want to completely break down the salt crystals)
- Store the flavored salt in an airtight container. Use within 6 months for optimum freshness.
- Flavored salts can be rubbed on meat or seafood before cooking or add a finishing touch of flavor after the protein is cooked. Flavored salt can also be sprinkled on cooked or raw vegetables and eggs.
- Kosher or sea salt
- Dried Herbs (see below for instructions on drying your own fresh herbs)
- Rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, thyme, basil, oregano, lavender (use culinary grade)
- Spices (for the freshest, healthiest selection buy organic spices sold in bulk)
- Fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seedsHot peppers, peppercorns
- Dried mushrooms
- Dried sea vegetables (dulse, nori, wakame, kombu)
- Dried organic citrus peel
- Tea Leaves
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
Choose your flavor (or add multiple flavorings to one batch).
If not already dried, then dry your flavorings:
- Air dry herbs or use a dehydrator. Herbs without of lot of moisture (rosemary, sage, thyme) dry quickly, often in about 3 days if picked off the stems, spread out on baking sheet and left at room temperature. Herbs with more moisture (basil, chives, mint) preserve better in a dehydrator.
- To dry citrus peel, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to trim away just the colored part of the lemon or lime peel leaving the white part behind. Spread out on a plate at room temperature for several days.
- Some sea vegetables should be toasted to remove moisture. Roast dulse and kombu in a dry skillet for 5 to 7 minutes, then let cool before crumbling or chopping.
- Most whole spices will be more flavorful if toasted in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Let cool completely before adding to the salt.
Large pieces of dried mushroom, citrus peel and seaweed should be pre-chopped (by hand or in a coffee grinder or food processor) into smaller bits before adding to the salt.
One you combine the salt and flavorings, blend briefly to combine the flavors, using a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or food processor.
If the salt seems moist at all, then spread it out on a sheet pan overnight to dry or dry it in a low-heat oven (200 ºF/93 ºC) for 30 minutes before packing the salt in an airtight container.