The oft used, least appreciated ingredient in my pantry – “herbes salées” (or, for the non-French Canadians in the house, basically ‘salted herbs’). Yes, even on my nose to tail, whole animal foods way of eating, I use this wonder ingredient often.
It’s used as a spice would be, very concentrated in flavour (please don’t eat it out if the jar and send me hate mail). A little dab will do ya’. This is what you do when herbs are growing in the summer so that you have that fresh flavour throughout the year.
Herbes Salées is essentially just a whack of finely minced fresh herbs that are salted. After salting you can ferment them or just stick them in a cold pantry or your fridge. Either way, you will have fresh herbs, at the ready, that will last for well over a year.
So, do be careful with the salt you use. I use Redmond Real Salt @redmondrealsalt (even my farm animals get this salt) or Giddy Yoyo @giddyyoyo salt exclusively. I buy salt in bulk. Neither of those companies pay me but maybe they should. A mountain of free salt for Tara! I put their names there because last time I avoided listing companies and man, people got so pissy with me. You can read about why I avoid sea salt and go for the best salts available here #slowdownfarmsteadsalt
The difference between preserving herbs this way and drying them is profound. These herbs are very concentrated and bright in flavour. Like, zing-zang, whoa-mama flavour. A little smidge makes a cup of bone broth sing. Added to some fat that you smear all over a braising roast and you got something special. Added to homemade sausages or eggs. A dollop in bearnaise, a plop in your stew, a spoonful in your hollandaise.
You are the almighty ruler of your kitchen kingdom, oh giver of deliciousness. You decide.
When fresh herb season is gone, I make my marrow butter using my preserved herbs. It’s as easy as adding herbes salées to melty bone marrow and raw butter and pouring it in moulds. Then I have a bunch of these delicious and nutrient dense fatty bites at the ready should a little lean meat or PMS cross my path.
Use what herbs you have and use what combinations you want. I make different ones and list what I put in them on the jar so I can see what flavours I like combined with what proteins.
In yesterday’s batch I included the following herbs from my garden (and some that were foraged): marjoram/tarragon/chives/tansy/rue/rosemary/a lot of thyme because that’s a favourite/sage/golden rod/asters/a few tomato leaves/leek/lovage/dill/burnet/Italian parsley.
I like making different ones. A favourite is a combination of Christmas/Thanksgiving type flavours of rosemary/sage/thyme/parsley. It’s so comforting and handy when you want those flavours but you’re limited to dried herbs or greenhouse grown herbs.
For details on fermenting, it’s best to get your legs under you by experimenting. I’ve been doing it for a long time and just know salt volumes by taste. The Shockeys have the best fermenting books out there, I recommend them often. However, like I said, no fermentation is necessary for this recipe. The salt is your preservative.
You can either salt the bunch of herbs liberally and mix through before packing in jars or you can add a layer of salt to a jar, add a layer of your minced herbs, then another layer of salt and so on until your jar is packed to the top. If you need more detailed directions, look up a recipe online and use that until you’re comfortable.
Regardless of how you make it, fermented or not, give it a month to develop its flavours before using. Store it in your fridge and there it will keep for well over a year. Summer’s sunshine illuminating the beautiful, nutrient dense animal foods on your plate.