Whilst watching Master Chef (yes, we are MC tragics) I was intrigued when one of the contestants made her own rosemary salt. Having just recently made a herb salt, I decided to add to my growing collection of interesting culinary salts. Mind you, these culinary salts come with healthy side benefits. Both provide a good punch of phytonutrients and antioxidants for a start.
Rosemary is well known as a memory herb. I happen to have a flowering shrub in the garden. It has been grown from stock cultivated out of a cutting brought back to Australia from Gallipoli by a returning soldier. Woolworths were selling them as a fundraising special many moons ago for Anzac Day.
Mercola Food Facts have this to say about rosemary –
This ancient herb from the Mediterranean, whether fresh or dried, is one of the most popular for kitchen use, and can be added to soups, sandwiches, cheese, dips, and even for making infused oil. But with the wide array of nutritional benefits rosemary provides, what this herb does for human health is truly remarkable.
The litany of vitamins and minerals in rosemary is a long one, with corresponding uses in the body for each. Unique compounds and oils include rosmarinic acid and essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and α-pinene, providing anti-inflammation, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. And research provides ample evidence that rosemary not only improves memory, but helps fight cancer.
To make the salt all you do is pick a bunch of rosemary. I used the flowers too. I had a couple of generous cupfuls of leaves and flowers. Blitz them to powder. I added a cupful of flaky sea salt and blitzed it again. It is a little damp so leave it spread out on a tray in a nook in the kitchen for a few days to dry. Will make your kitchen smell amazing. When dry, store in an airtight jar. It’s salt. It will keep.
The herb salt is a little bit more work.
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped chives, including flowers if you grow your own
(Chives – High in vitamins A, C, and K and known for having antioxidant power to take the bite out of free radicals, chives contain flavonoid antioxidants like carotenes, zeaxanthin, lutein, and many other healthful phytonutrients. They’ve been shown in clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, even inhibiting salmonella in certain foods, lowering high blood pressure, and reducing the risk of gastric, lung, esophageal, stomach, and mouth cancers.)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
(Parsley is useful as a digestive aid and natural breath freshener, and contains lots of vitamin A, copper, and manganese, plus three times more vitamin C than oranges, and twice the iron than the same amount of spinach. A tea made from parsley is a traditional remedy for colic, indigestion, and intestinal gas, and as an herb helps to purify the blood and fight cancer.)
- 1/4 cup chopped oregano
( Oregano– Vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, calcium, niacin, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, and the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin are all found in oregano. Its antioxidant power and proven disease prevention is incredible. This fragrant Mediterranean herb can help the body detox, reduce fever, relieve diarrhea, prevent colds, flu and indigestion and regulate menstrual cycles.
An oregano poultice can sooth sore muscles and improve eczema, and compounds in the leaves and flowers can aid digestion and prevent gas. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities are released in the oil, which also contains germ- and bacteria-battling antibacterial agents.)
- 1/2 cup flaky sea salt
Combine. Spread on a tray to dry. Keep it out of the sun and stir daily till dry. I blitzed this one too. Store in airtight jar.
While I’m talking things salt, let me tell you a bit about the pink Himalayan salt. Again, Mercola Food Facts is worth reading if you are keen to learn more about a salt that contains 84 trace minerals. And has a host of health benefits.
One of the big reasons for using pink salt is that it does not contain the additives that are found in processed table salts – anti-caking agents such as magnesium carbonate and sodium aluminosilicate.
Here’s a snippet of what Himalayan pink salt has to offer –
- Sodium: The body needs it for various functions, as it helps with contracting and relaxing muscles, preventing dehydration and low blood pressure levels and sending nervous system impulses.
- Calcium: It’s heralded for its capabilities in protecting heart muscles, building strong bones, gums and teeth, inhibiting the onset of kidney stones, premenstrual depression and obesity, regulating blood pressure levels and promoting a healthy alkaline pH level.
- Magnesium: This is a vital component of the body’s biochemical processes. Magnesium also plays a role in promoting proper formation of bones and teeth, relaxing blood vessels, enhancing muscle and nerve function, regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity and promoting creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or the body’s energy currency.
- Iron: It serves in promoting immune system strength and energy production. Iron’s main function, however, lies in hemoglobin production that is an important step in oxygen transportation throughout the body.
- Potassium: Himalayan salt contains higher amounts of potassium compared to other natural and unprocessed salts. This helps your body maintain a balanced potassium-to-salt ratio.
I make a concentrated brine (called solé) and keep it on the bench next to my stove for those occassions when I do salt the cooking water. Some people say they have had great benefit from taking a teaspoonful in a glass of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.