That the seasons are changing is becoming more and more evident. The predicted temperature for tomorrow is 22ºF cooler than what we experienced yesterday. The basil plants are flowering in their determined effort to go to seed and reproduce. The final harvest of this year’s tender herbs and vegetables is at hand.
First frost in this part of the world typically occurs the first week in November. At this time of year I closely watch the weather reports for frost warnings at which time I harvest every pepper and tomato regardless of size. That day is fast approaching.
Today I took one of the last opportunities to preserve this year’s basil by making basil salt. While I was at it I also made parsley and cilantro salts. I started with the parsley by stripping the leaves and smaller tender stems from the larger tougher stems. After washing them I blotted as much moisture as I could with paper towels.
The parsley leaves and tender stems were then pulverized along with coarse sea salt in a food processor.
The blended parsley and sea salt were spread in a thin layer on a parchment paper lined dehydrator tray (this could also be done in a low temperature oven).
I did the same with basil leaves and cilantro leaves and stems.
Making cilantro salt was a gamble. Preserving the flavor of cilantro is difficult. I used to be able to purchase cilantro infused olive oil but I assume it has been taken off the market for safety concerns. Dried cilantro leaves do not retain the flavor of fresh cilantro at all. I have had only slightly better results with freezing cilantro. I therefore made a small experimental batch of cilantro salt.
After the blended salt and herbs had dried I pulverized them again briefly before putting them in labeled jars. All three of these herbal salts were very flavorful, but the basil salt most closely represented the flavor of the fresh herb.