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I know we here in the northern hemisphere are thrilled that winter is on its way out, but before it’s completely gone, let’s use the last of this season’s lemons. Last month I wrote about how to make salt-preserved lemons, which is a great way to be able to get that fantastic citrus taste after lemons are long out of season. Today I want to show you another way: lemon rosemary flavored salt! This super easy recipe takes all of five minutes to prepare after having dried the main ingredients and can be used all year long to flavor your favorite dishes. It also makes a much welcomed gift! Here’s how to make it:
You don’t need many ingredients. At first you’ll just need two or three organic lemons and some branches of fresh rosemary, which we’ll be drying. Once they’re well-dried, we’ll also want fine salt (I preferred to use sea salt) and, if you want, some garlic.
I suggest you read this whole post for all the tips, but if you’ve already read it and just want the quantities, here they are:
- 1 Tb dried and pulverized organic lemon peel (2-3 lemons)
- 1/2 – 3/4 Tb dried and pulverized rosemary
- 4 Tbs fine sea salt
- 4 cloves of garlic (optional)
Scrub your lemons clean and dry them well. Remove the outermost peel (not the white pith underneath) with a potato peeler. You can squeeze the lemons later on when you’re ready to use them (or make some yummy lemon ginger marmalade).
Gather some branches of fresh rosemary and rinse them. Dry them gently.
There are different ways to drying ingredients. You can leave the lemon peels out and hang the rosemary branches with an open paper bag covering them. Or you could use a drying machine or put them in the oven after you’ve taken other things out of it to dry them with the residual heat. My preferred way in the winter, when we have our heating on, is how I prepare my citrus and hot pepper powders (and really, this is just a variation on that theme). I just put them into some sort of heat-resistant container (usually ceramic bowls but in this case I cut the rosemary branches in half and put them in the metal loaf tin I use to make banana bread)…
…and put them on top of my huge ceiling height radiators. In full-blown winter, when the heat is on more constantly, citrus peels get dried out this way in just a few days.
When they are well dried, they will easily snap instead of bending. The lemon peels will change color, becoming darker.
Pulverize the lemon peels in a blender or food processor like I did with my citrus powders. I bought a Magic Bullet about half a year ago and love it. Put the lemon powder in another container and then pulverize the rosemary. Once it’s dried, the rosemary will come right off of the branches just rubbing it lightly. I realized after taking this picture that it makes more sense to let the rosemary fall into a larger container (such as the one you dried it in) and then dump it into the food processor, rather than attempt to get it all to fall directly into the smaller food processor container.
Look at those lovely pure rosemary and lemon powders! Now mix 4 tablespoons of fine sea salt, 1 tablespoon of lemon peel powder and 1/2 – 3/4 tablespoon of rosemary powder in the food processor (or just mix them in a jar, though I prefer blending the ingredients together). Start with 1/2 tablespoon of rosemary because it’s pretty strong. The adjust the amounts of each ingredient for your taste. I like to make the mixture not too salty so that I can add it to food that’s already been prepared with salt.
If you have any extra powders, put them in jars. I had a lot of extra rosemary powder, which will definitely be used for other things.
I love garlic and actually came up with this recipe as a variation of my beloved garlic salt. However my husband doesn’t always want garlic in his food, so what I generally do is keep half of this recipe “straight,” without garlic, and add garlic to the other half. If you want to make it all with garlic, slice up four cloves of garlic thinly and blend them in the food processor with the lemon rosemary salt. If you are only doing a half recipe, like me, put half of the lemon rosemary salt into a container and add only two cloves of garlic to the remainder.
On the left you can see the “straight” lemon rosemary salt and on the right is the garlic version.
See how much the garlic changes the color of it? It’s darker and more yellow.
Put your powders into jars. I used some old glass spice jars that my mother gave me. If these are going to be a gift, make a cute label for them. I am a bit cute-label-challenged, so I just cut out a couple of circles of fabric with pinking shears and tied some raffia around them. (Recognize the fabric? It came from the unused cups of last summer’s dress-to-skirt refashion.) These mixtures are delicious on vegetables, pasta, rice, fish, freselle with oil, or whatever your heart desires. (The fresella is a sort of twice baked bread that you have to get wet before eating. You can put whatever you want on top, but we often just put oil and herbs on them, as well as cherry tomatos when they’re in season.) And what a fantastic gift to give! Despite being super cheap and quick to make, anyone would be happy to receive a jar of wonderful flavor!
Question of the day: What’s your favorite herb?
That’s a REALLY hard question for me to answer. I have about 10 types of herbs growing in pots on my balcony. In the winter I use a lot of rosemary, sage and marjoram, while in the summer I use loads of basil, mint and chives. But I also love using my cilantro, thyme, lemon-thyme and parsley and I also grow hot chili pepper from seeds and make a powder or spicy oil out of them.