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1 Feb

How to Make Flavored Salts

FlavoredSaltAt 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

SeaSalt
  • 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.

Suggested Ingredients:

ingredients 26
  • 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
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Dried sea vegetables (dulse, nori, wakame, kombu)
  • Dried organic citrus peel
  • Tea Leaves
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions:

Choose your flavor (or add multiple flavorings to one batch).

spices

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.

FlavoredSalt

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. For some time, I’ve been using all-natural spices for things like taco seasoning, Memphis rub (for ribs), chicken rubs and more.

    Add now, seasonings specific to salt, and I’m finding even more reasons for excitement.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Dr. Mike Tremba wrote on February 1st, 2014
    • In my experience, you do not need to dry many spices — the salt does the dehydrating for you. I’ve used chopped fresh rosemary, whole thyme leaves and lemon peel to good effect. If I don’t use dry herbs, I also don’t grind them any further — that might very well make quite a mushy result.

      dkd2001 wrote on February 1st, 2014
  2. Why is this better than just adding the seasons/herbs/spices along with salt while/after cooking? Seems like it just takes more time.

    Zach rusk wrote on February 1st, 2014
    • Agreed. I have garlic powder and I have salt, so why would I make garlic-salt, for instance? When they are separate, I have more flexibility with the proportions. Would those who make mushroom-salt also consider making something like turmeric-butter?

      Travis wrote on February 1st, 2014
  3. Always reduced sodium intake to keep BP down, since primal eating …I’m excited about this post. Thanks MDA!

    Sarah wrote on February 1st, 2014
    • Ahh, you need to read my blog post about new salt research then :)

      The pictures alone are beautiful… the contrast between salt and herbs – gorgeous, “Worker Bee”!

      paleocrushmom wrote on February 1st, 2014
  4. In cooking flavoring is always high on my list, so this information offers many more options than merely buying seasoned salt. The varieties are endless. Thanks.

    joe arrigo wrote on February 1st, 2014
  5. like others, I prefer to keep my seasonings separate for the most part, as I can then add just what I need. I make 2 seasoning mixes however – Gomasio (sesame salt), which is just toasted sesame seeds and salt ground up together, and a “salad booster” which is salt, seaweed, herbs, spices etc all ground up together. I love the gomasio for dipping hard-boiled eggs in, and the salad booster gets used exactly as it’s name implies – I sprinkle it over salads. I have also been known to dip eggs in that as well…

    salixisme wrote on February 1st, 2014
  6. Artisinal salts complete me.

    Alie wrote on February 1st, 2014
  7. I just wonder if we needs salts at all? I’ve found that that when I first change to a more basic food, for example, salads without dressing, that they taste “boring” and not very interesting, but this is really due to habit. They don’t taste like they used to and I initially thought they tasted bad. But, after eating them for a few days I quickly become used to the new tastes and actually realize that the fundamental foods taste great without the added “flavorings”. Then, if I try and eat something like a salad with a dressing, it tastes bad and I’d rather have one without the dressing.

    So, I wonder if it’s the same thing with salts and seasonings. My preference is to get my food as close to completely natural as possible.

    Peter Whiting wrote on February 1st, 2014
    • I noticed that I don’t get enough salt in my diet so adding helps me out health wise. When I haven’t had enough during the day one of the signs is I will feel too tired for what seems no reason, so putting a tiny bit in some water helps to bring me back.

      2Rae wrote on February 2nd, 2014
      • Thanks for the reply. I guess I’ll look into it more and give it a try.

        Peter Whiting wrote on February 3rd, 2014
  8. I use Redmon brand “real salt” kosher. Mined in Utah from ancient seabed. Good stuff!

    Corey B. (Long Beach, CA) wrote on February 1st, 2014
  9. I used a sage and sea salt blend to make the most amazing baked turkey legs. Seriously easy, seriously good, and effortlessly Paleo. I love Diane SanFilippo’s salt blend suggestions as a place for others to start.

    Camille wrote on February 1st, 2014
  10. I don’t use salt in anyway… there is enough salt in every day food for me.
    The only time I use salt is in the summer when I feel dizzy.

    MarielleGO wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  11. I use kelp flakes or powdered kelp in place of salt–would these mixes work with kelp?

    Wenchypoo wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  12. Why is this better than just adding the seasons/herbs/spices along with salt while/after cooking? Seems like it just takes more time.

    Tiffany wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  13. This makes me think of Japanese Furikake, which gets translated as sprinkles. It is a number of different recipes for things to sprinkle on food from gomashio(sesame salt) to blends with dried fish flakes or even ground green tea.

    Ingvildr wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  14. Red wine salt on steak is hard to beat. It’s also great on salads and, if you’re having a 20% treat, on popcorn. http://wellpreserved.ca/how-to-make-wine-salt-recipe/

    Lisa wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  15. I usually add the salt / spices to my meals separately, but combining them together does simplify things. What I like is that the combination possibilities really are endless!

    Adam wrote on February 3rd, 2014
  16. The reason why I think flavored salt is a good thing goes beyond the limits of regular food seasoning or taste and a bit deeper into the process of culinary creativity, which is undeniably a very important quality, regardless of whether you consider yourself a pro chef or you’re just starting to get the feel of cooking. The beauty of flavored salt is that it can be used for preparing food before the actual cooking, as well as for enhancing the flavor afterwards. Besides, the number of combinations you can make is virtually endless, so you will always be able to surprise your friends and loved ones.

    This article offers lots of interesting suggestions that I will definitely try out soon. Thanks for posting!

    Debbie wrote on February 3rd, 2014
  17. Smoked salt is incredible, by the way. Anyone with a smoker or hardwood campfire can make it. Simply cover the bottom of a pan with coarse salt, and place it in the smoke.

    Erok wrote on February 6th, 2014

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