Homemade veggie seasoning salt

manitoba_mumDecember 4, 2013

Has anyone tried drying herbs and vegetables during the growing season, then turn them into a seasoning salt?

My daughter sparked the idea when she went on a camping trip and faced those chemical flavor packets that come inside packaged instant noodles. She didn't like the flavor and wondered if there was anything homemade that would help flavor the noodles.

So I've been working at this for several growing seasons, and wonder if there are others who do something similar?

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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

It is very easy to make your own seasoning salts. I'm part of a Herb Guild that grows, harvests, and dries to make blends to sell at our Botanic Gardens here. A little bit of Google would probably give you lots of recipes.

Basically, though--think about the herbs you prefer flavorwise. Personally, I'm not a fan of the anise bunch--so I tend to avoid tarragon, chervil, etc. Also, some are easy to dry, and some are very time consuming to strip--thyme. Check out some back posts in the Herbs forum for drying info. Also, look at little bits of spices such as onion or garlic powder, ground celery seed and paprika to supplement the flavors. Some lemon, orange, or lime zest can be a nice addition as well, depending on what you're going to mainly use them for (or citric acid if you're going for a lemon flavor). I use either a coarse kosher salt or a sea salt for a base, then just add the herbs you like. You can use a coffee grinder to blend things down (obviously make sure it's clean first). You can also make grinder blends using a coarse sea salt and larger bits of herbs.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:26AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

You might see if you can google what ingredients are in the spice packet that comes with the noodles as a starting place, then adjust to your taste.

A note on drying thyme...
I dry mine on the stem, then roll between my fingers and the leaves pop right off. Way easier that trying to strip all the fresh leaves off.

Deanna

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 11:53AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Yes, it's not that hard, more just time consuming for the small amount of dried herb you end up with--but then I look at it from the perspective of needing near 100 cups of dried thyme in a year---Yikes!!!! (and yes, some herbs we have to supplement and buy) I don't always think in terms of only needing a Tbsp or two. That's relatively easy.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:13PM
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manitoba_mum

Glad to meet fellow veggie salt enthuiasts. So far around here I haven't run into anyone else making their own veggie salt. One farmer neighbor remembered his mother made something similar!

I haven't grown many pot herbs successfully, so only have parsley, chives, and a little bit of lovage as it's really robust. I was thinking about rosemary as I have 2 plants in pots on the window brought in from the garden. Mainly, we focus on gathering wild greens like dandelion and nettle leaf in the early spring and then dry vegetables as they come on, in the garden.

Yes, we buy celery seed. I have a coffee grinder, but an old blender and a couple seives with different sized screens, seem to do the job. I find I have to wear a shop dust mask, as the dust is pretty serious stuff!

Right now, we've just about finished last year's batch and just need to dry a few more onions and garlic before we can set to work grinding up this years batch.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 6:15PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Lovage would be a nice flavor in a salt--just go easy on the celery seed then. Your rosemary works well, especially paired with some of the citrus. You could do a take on a lemon pepper with salt, pepper, lemon zest, chives, and some rosemary. Maybe look into purchasing some basil and marjoram--they're really nice flavors in a salt.

If you dry your chives, you need to chop them prior to drying them, otherwise you end up with onion smelling hay that you can't do much with. And yes, the masks are very worthwhile at times. I find that if I'm mixing at home, I do it on the stove, with the vent running. It helps pull the dust away from your face. If you do some lemon zest, I use a veggie peeler to peel wide strips from the lemons, then dry them before grinding.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 7:48PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I would consider herb seeds instead of greens, To have a punch.
You cans use coriander, celery seed, parsley seed, dill seeds, basil seeds,.. etc. To add heat use chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 10:21AM
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thatcompostguy

Dried cabbage, corn, carrots are sweet and tasty. they're found in those Yakisoba packages. I've considered drying a bunch of things shredded just for adding to basic Ramen noodles to add something to lunch. But I buy a bag of frozen veggies and keep that in the freezer to use instead.

Planters Peanuts uses sweetpotato and pumpkin powder to add texture, color, and flavor to one of their holiday collection of nuts. They ought to be easy enough to dry and pulverize.

Dried celery adds the same general flavor as celery seed, and might be cheaper for the volume you'd end up with after a bunch is dried and pulverized.

Dried tomatoes have a nice flavor.

Dried spinach would add nice green color.

Dried kale would be healthy and green.

Dried beets would add nice purple color and sweetness. I don't know if they'd be better dried raw or after roasting. :-)

You can add beet, spinach, or tomato powder to pasta flour when making pasta for multi-colored pasta. Or add them to bread flour for a tinted flavored bread.

Onions are easy to dry, but they smell up the house. Garlic as well, I assume.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 2:56PM
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