When your garden gives you too much basil — make herbal salt! It’s simple and satisfying to make this savory blend that can be added to so many different dishes.
Today I’m sharing an easy-to-make Basil + Lemon Herbal Salt — even if you don’t have a food dehydrator. All you need is some fresh basil, salt, lemon zest, a food processor…and a little bit of patience — since we’re going to let the salt cure naturally for 1 to 3 days.
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Guys…I have to tell you that I love a simple 10-minute recipe like this — especially when it has a slow, hands-off component. For some reason, I find it oddly satisfying to be surrounded by my own creations brewing, curing, drying, and fermenting. At the moment, there’s handmade soap, cold brew coffee and herbal salts on my kitchen counter. Is there a support group for this?
Anyway, let’s dive in!
What are the Benefits of Basil + Lemon Herbed Salt?
By using aromatic herbs, you’re getting the benefit of more herbs and less salt in your diet. What’s not to like about more flavor and less sodium?
Basil is a wonderfully warm herb that can help to calm the nervous system; settle the stomach and clear the mind, according to herbalists in the know. It also is said to help fight off coughs and colds. [Source: The Herbal Kitchen]
Lemon Peel has a decent amount of fiber and Vitamin C — which is high in anti-oxidants. It also has small amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium. I had no idea lemon peel had this much nutritional value until I googled it!
Looking for more ways to use fresh basil?
Here’s What You’ll Need to Make the Herbal Salt
- Fresh Basil: I got mine from our backyard garden. You can make herbed salt with dried powdered herbs, but my instructions today are specifically for fresh basil.
- Salt: I used Morton’s fine sea salt. There’s a misnomer that sea salt has less sodium and is therefore healthier than regular table salt. They’re processed differently, of course (sea salt from evaporated sea water) and table salt from mining salt deposits in the earth.
Bottom line is they both have about the same amount of sodium — but sea salt is higher in certain minerals (magnesium, calcium and potassium), while table salt is usually fortified with iodine and has anti-caking agents. Choose whatever is readily available to you.
- Lemon: Opt for an organic lemon, if you can.
- Equipment: You’ll need a food processor, sharp knife and small baking sheet — plus a container to store your salt once it’s ready. It’s important to use an air-tight container for storage, since we’re using fresh herbs and want to do everything we can to keep moisture out. See more on storage below.
I scaled the quantities in the original recipe way back, because I was experimenting to see if we’d like this salt. You can definitely double or triple the recipe to suit your needs.
I also made Rosemary Garlic Salt at the same time, which is fresh rosemary, lemon peel and chopped garlic mixed with salt — made using the same method.
Basil + Lemon Herbal SaltCourse: Seasonings
This easy-to-prepare herbal blend can be used in almost any dish where you would use regular table salt.
Heaping 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fine sea salt
Peel of one lemon
- Rinse and dry the basil. It should be as dry as possible. You can use towels to hand dry it or a salad spinner, if you have one. Less moisture will result in an herbal salt with a longer shelf life. Plus, it will take less time for the salt to cure.
- Wash the lemon and peel with a vegetable peeler. You are trying to get the yellow part, leaving the white pith behind. Using a small knife, dice the lemon peel.
- Add everything to a food processor and pulse briefly. Then process for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides if necessary. The mixture should turn bright green and be moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it between your fingers.
- Using a spatula, spread the herbed salt in a thin even layer on the small baking sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper, which is optional.)
- Let the mixture dry for 1 to 3 days, depending on humidity levels in your kitchen. You can speed up the process by using a dehydrator at the lowest setting or putting the pan in your oven on the lowest heat setting (about 170 degrees). I didn’t use my oven, as I read that it’s too easy to overcook and ruin the salt blend unless it’s watched carefully. I didn’t want to do any “watching,” plus I loved the aromatic scent of the curing salt on the counter.
- While it’s drying, stir up the salt at least once a day. It will begin to lose some of its vibrant green color as it dries.
- Once the salt mixture is dry, you may have some clumps. Return it to the food processor and pulse briefly. Pour it into your container. Be sure to keep reading below for important notes on storing and spoilage.
- Source: I got this recipe from an herbalist named Sass who blogs on Botany Culture (great blog by the way!). She got her inspiration from herbalist Kami McBride who authored The Herbal Kitchen. I own the book and recommend it if you’re ready to take a deep dive into herbs. Both the blog and the book are linked below.
How to Use Basil + Lemon Herbal Salt
You can use this herbal salt in any way that you use regular table salt. Get creative with it while cooking and be sure to leave it on the table so that you’ll remember to reach for it when a dish needs “a little something.” This salt pairs well with Italian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, of course. But don’t limit yourself!
How to Store Herbal Salt
You want to be sure to store this salt in an airtight container, away from light, heat and moisture. If moisture seeps into the container, the basil could grow mold and we don’t want that! When stored properly, the salt can keep for up to a year. If you notice the salt changing color or developing an “off” smell, discard it and make a fresh batch.
Looking for an airtight container to store your herbal salt?
Here are a couple of options:
…or Corked Spice Jars from Mountain Rose Herbs
Wouldn’t this herbal salt make a nice little gift from your garden? Here’s a stylish corked spice jar from
Mountain Rose Herbs.
If you do gift this herbal salt, be sure to include a tag with proper storage instructions.
Botany Culture (blog)
The Herbal Kitchen (book)
Did you make Basil + Lemon Herbal Salt? Don’t forget to take a pic
and tag @honest_and_simple on Instagram!
I am not a licensed nutritionist, medical professional or cosmetics expert. The information provided on Honest + Simple is for general informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food + Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease. Before making decisions about your health or other concerns, please consult a qualified professional and do not rely on this website for medical advice.