Salted Preserved Herbs
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
A good way to preserve fresh culinary herbs, inspired by the Québec-style “Herbes Salées”.
The term “herbes salées” (salted herbs) comes from the French province of Québec and is a traditional condiment for seasoning. My friend Geneviève-Amélie, born in the region that created and produces the classic blend of Herbes salées du Bas-du-Fleuve, introduced me to this method. Many herb varieties can be cultivated all year long where we live in Australia, so the need to preserve all summer garden herbs for the rest of the year is not as necessary. But in a cool climate zone, there are some tender greens that goes dormant in winter or annuals that just dies when frost hits. That means that, it is still worth saving our seasonal homegrown culinary herbs to enjoy them all year long. With time, I developed my favourite type of preserving for each of my favourite herb. Some will be for drying, some will be or freezing and some can just be freshly picked as needed in the yard. I like making some garden oven-dried herb blend salts but the difference with the Herbes Salées preserved method, is that herbs, combined with salt as preservative, stay moist. The jar has to be stored in the fridge and is safe to use for up to a year. The authentic salted preserved herb blend is commonly used to season the ancestral Canadian Pea Soup and many traditional winter dishes like the Tourtières (French Canadian-style meat pies). But that can also be used in any warm savoury recipes. One way to prepare it, is simply to mix and chop a full bowl of herbs with the salt in the food processor before filling it all in a sterilized glass jar, closing it up and let it macerate for few weeks before using. Another way is to place a layer of chopped herbs, once or twice a week, cover with a layer of salt and repeat until the jar is filled. When ready to use, just mix it all up. In my favourite selection presented here, I simply used parsley, celery leaves and chive. I find these to be my favourite combination because the green colour does not oxidate in the salt like other herbs do. You can also add bits of finely chopped pieces of carrots, celery, leek and spring onions from the garden that you don’t want to waste and prepare your own favourite salted herbs each year!
Stay tuned for all recipes in my upcoming book!