Homemade Herb Salt Recipe

homemade herb salt recipe

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING…

Compares to the flavors of fresh herbs picked footsteps from your door. This morning I tip-toed out on my front deck to pick fresh sage leaves for the pork chop recipe I was putting in the crockpot, and momentarily mourned the fact I can’t enjoy those flavors all year long…

The first thing I’m doing once our home addition project is complete is setting up some windowsill herb gardens so we have fresh herbs all year long. (Previously, my south-facing windows have not been conducive to growing stuff…)

Herbs seem to either be feast or famine. I either have an obscene amount of fresh parsley, or none all all. There are plenty of different ways to preserve fresh herbs for later, but I recently stumbled upon a technique I hadn’t previously used (I know, I must live under a rock, huh?)

homemade herb salt recipe

Preserving herbs in salt is an old method that works beautifully for two reasons:

a) it’s fast and easy

b) it’s delicious

What more do you need? Although I’ll still probably dry my herbs or save them in oil, this is officially my new favorite way to preserve herbs.

homemade herb salt recipe

The Best Herbs for Herb Salt

Honestly? Anything will work. My herb salt is pretty heavy on the parsley, because I have parsley coming out my ears, but I also toss in handfuls of whatever else I have growing. Just think about the herbs you like to eat together, and make your custom herb salt blends according to what your palate prefers. Here are a few good options, but the sky’s the limit:

  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

homemade herb salt recipe

Homemade Herb Salt Recipe

  • 3 loosely-packed cups of fresh herbs of your choice (see list above)
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt

Wash the herbs and remove coarse stems and any discolored leaves. Dry thoroughly.

Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse grind. Be careful not to make a paste or puree, though.

homemade herb salt recipe

Don’t want to use a food processor? No worries. Simply grab your knife and cutting board and go crazy. Coarsely chop the leaves, then add the salt on top and continue to chop the salt/herbs together until you have a coarse, uniform mixture.

Place the herb mixture in a glass jar, and place in the fridge for 7-14 days to let the flavors meld. Give it a shake every day or so.

Store in the fridge. The salt in this recipe acts as a preservative, so your herbs should last 6 months, or even longer.

Use your homemade herb salt in any recipes that would benefit from an extra punch. Obviously, it is very salty, so I would start by using it 1:1 for the salt in your recipes. Rub it on roasts, sprinkle it in stews, slather it on your chickens before roasting them… You get the idea!

homemade herb salt recipe

Homemade Herb Salt Recipe Notes:

  • Use coarse sea salt, kosher salt, or canning/pickling salt for this recipe. This is the coarse sea salt I love (affiliate link).
  • There are many different techniques to make homemade herb salt. Some folks layer whole herbs in salt, some folks dry the mixture before jarring it, etc. I like this method because it’s fast and easy, but feel free to experiment.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Homemade Herb Salt Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Seasoning
 
Ingredients
  • 3 loosely-packed cups of fresh herbs of your choice. Parsely, oregano, basil, mint, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, and/or dill are all great choice.
  • ½ cup coarse salt
Instructions
  1. Wash the herbs and remove coarse stems and any discolored leaves. Dry thoroughly.
  2. Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse grind. Be careful not to make a paste or puree, though.
  3. Don't want to use a food processor? No worries. Simply grab your knife and cutting board and go crazy. Coarsely chop the leaves, then add the salt on top and continue to chop the salt/herbs together until you have a coarse, uniform mixture.
  4. Place the herb mixture in a glass jar, and place in the fridge for 7-14 days to let the flavors meld. Give it a shake every day or so.
  5. The salt in this recipe acts as a preservative, so your herbs should last 6 months, or even longer.
  6. Use your homemade herb salt in any recipes that would benefit from an extra punch. Rub it on roasts, sprinkle it in stews, slather it on your chickens before roasting them... You get the idea!

 

Homemade Fermented Ketchup Recipe

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

Confession time:

I used to be completely scared of fermenting stuff. I wanted nothing to do with it.

I’m not sure if it was some of the rather unappetizing photos of fermented foods floating around online, or my secret fear that anything I would ferment would taste like dirty socks, but I avoided fermentation for quite a while.

Pretty sad, eh? A natural-food-loving-homesteader-person who didn’t ferment… Lame.

So what changed?

Cabbage.

I had cautiously had ventured into the world of homemade sauerkraut and was completely impressed with the results. I found myself not only tolerating the kraut, but actually craving the tangy flavor and smell. And considering how the Prairie Kids were literally begging for it with their lunches, I figured it was time to get a little cozier with this whole idea of fermented foods. Especially since it didn’t taste like dirty socks.

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

This homemade ketchup recipe has been a perfect baby-step in my DIY fermented journey. You’ll find it has a pleasant tang, without being overpowering or weird. In fact, I’d be surprised if the uninitiated could even tell it’s fermented at all. Plus, you’ll miss out on the lovely high fructose corn syrup in store-bought ketchup. Bingo. But first, a few notes:

Why Fermented Ketchup?

Fermenting foods adds probiotic benefit to them, and we all know how important good bacteria is for our gut. Additionally, the beneficial bacteria in fermented ketchup helps it to last longer in storage, which is a big benefit for me, since I usually don’t feel like making this ketchup recipe every week. And it tastes good. BAM. The bigger question here is: Why NOT fermented ketchup?

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

Why Start with Tomato Paste?

There are plenty of ketchup recipes out there showing you how to turn fresh tomatoes into ketchup, but I chose to start with paste to keep things simpler. You can use homemade tomato paste OR store-bought– it’s totally up to you. To be perfectly honest, since I usually have a limited supply of local tomatoes each year, I prefer to turn my good tomatoes into sauce, since it takes such a large quantity of tomatoes to make a small amount of homemade paste.

Why Use Airlocks for Fermenting?

Last year I started working with Matt from Fermentools , and he’s been incredibly helpful in helping me to overcome my ferment-phobia.

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

Can you make fermented foods without an airlock system? Yup. But airlocks make the process even more fool-proof (especially for beginners) by reducing the the chance of mold, and allowing the ferment to release gases without you having to “burp” it. There are a number of air lock systems out there, but I like the Fermentools system since it fits right onto mason jars so I don’t have to buy a bunch of special jars, and it makes it easy to make big batches.

Fermented Ketchup Recipe

Yield: Makes 1 pint, but can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.

*If you are wanting the beneficial probiotics in fermented ketchup, the whey/brine cannot be omitted. Here’s how to make real whey (powdered whey will NOT work), or just skim some brine from an existing ferment. I used my sauerkraut brine, and it worked beautifully.

Combine all the ingredients, tasting and adjusting the seasonings as needed.

Place the ketchup in a pint-sized mason jar, and fit with an airlock or regular lid.

Allow the homemade ketchup to sit out at room temperature for 2-3 days. If you are using a regular lid, you’ll probably need to “burp” the ketchup every day or so to prevent a build up of gases. If you are using an airlock, you don’t have to worry about it.

Move the ketchup to the refrigerator for another three days.

Enjoy on homemade burgers, homemade hash browns, or my favorite– french fries fried in beef tallow. Or eat it with a spoon. I won’t tell.

Long-Term Storage: Fermented ketchup should last 3-6 months in your fridge. I haven’t tried freezing it, but considering how well other tomato products freeze, I imagine it would work just fine.

You could technically can it if you wanted, but the high temps of the canning process would kill all the beneficial bacteria, so you might as well not ferment it in the first place if you are going to can it.

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

Kitchen Notes:

  • If you are wanting to make a non-fermented ketchup recipe, simply omit the whey/brine, mix all the other ingredients, and place in the refrigerator immediately. It won’t last as long in storage, but if you are eating it immediately, it should be OK.
  • I highly recommend making more than one jar, especially during grilling season.
  • This ketchup recipe is very thick, especially after the fermentation process. If you prefer your ketchup a little thinner, feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons of water before or after it’s done fermenting.
  • The best part about homemade ketchup? You can completely tailor it to fit your unique taste preferences. As written, my family loves this recipe, but if your family likes spicier ketchup, you can easily adjust the seasonings. Other common additions include: cinnamon, clove, garlic, cayenne, and/or mustard powder.

homemade fermented ketchup recipe

Where to Buy Fermenting Stuff?

I’ve been totally impressed with my Fermentools equipment. Like I mentioned above, the air locks are designed to work with the mason jars you already have, so you don’t have to purchase specials jars (and can easily make BIG batches of ferments, like sauerkraut, at once). I also found their powdered salt pretty handy to have around– the chart on the front of the package makes it crazy-easy to figure out exactly how much salt you need for a brine.

fermentoolslogo

Homemade Fermented Ketchup Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 1 pint
 
Ingredients
  • 2 (6oz) cans of tomato paste OR 1.5 cups homemade tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons raw vinegar (I used my homemade vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons whey or brine from existing vegetable ferments*
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
Instructions
  1. *If you are wanting the beneficial probiotics in fermented ketchup, the whey/brine cannot be omitted. Here's how to make real whey (powdered whey will NOT work), or just skim some brine from an existing ferment. I used my sauerkraut brine, and it worked beautifully.
  2. Combine all the ingredients, tasting and adjusting the seasonings as needed.
  3. Place the ketchup in a pint-sized mason jar, and fit with an airlock or regular lid.
  4. Allow the homemade ketchup to sit out at room temperature for 2-3 days. If you are using a regular lid, you'll probably need to "burp" the ketchup every day or so to prevent a build up of gases. If you are using an airlock, you don't have to worry about it.
  5. Move the ketchup to the refrigerator for another three days.
  6. Enjoy on homemade burgers, homemade hash browns, or my favorite-- french fries fried in beef tallow.
  7. Long-Term Storage: Fermented ketchup should last 3-6 months in your fridge. I haven't tried freezing it, but considering how well other tomato products freeze, I imagine it would work just fine.
  8. You could technically can it if you wanted, but the high temps of the canning process would kill all the beneficial bacteria, so you might as well not ferment it in the first place then.

 

This post is sponsored by Fermentools, which means they sent me one of their air lock systems so I could try it out. However, like everything I promote here on The Prairie Homestead, I don’t promote it unless I’m actually using it and loving it, which is absolutely the case here.

Shredded Hash Browns Recipe

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

I had a dream…

…of being able to make shredded hash browns at home without them being completely gross.

Because even my best-laid plans would leave me with poor results…

Too soggy. Too gummy. Too raw. Too burnt.

And hopelessly stuck to the pan.

I can make homemade marshmallows and french bread from scratch, for goodness sakes. What was up with these stinkin’ hash browns?

I am way too stubborn to buy frozen shredded hash browns from the store, so there we were, stuck eating fried potato cubes instead. Tragic.

Come to find out, there were only a few simple steps standing between me and homemade hash brown potato heaven. Who knew?

If you are in the same boat I was, you’ll want to definitely pin or save today’s post. It’s life-changing information, I’m telling ya.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Crispy Shredded Hash Browns Recipe

  • 2-3 potatoes (Any type will work, but Russets are classic hash brown potatoes. I use medium to large sized spuds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Shred your potatoes. I don’t peel mine first (because I’m lazy. Because the peels provide extra nutrition. *A-hem*), but you can if you want.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can use a hand grater. I personally hate grating stuff by hand, so my food processor makes short work of the potatoes.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Now comes the important part: rinse your potatoes. The starch on the potatoes is what tends to make them gummy and sticky. We want it outta there.

I simply put my shredded potatoes in a colander, and rinse until the water is clear, not cloudy.

Allow the potatoes to drain thoroughly. I like to squeeze ’em a bit to get out all the moisture I can, or you can pat them dry with a clean dish towel.

Toss in the salt and pepper. Don’t forget this step. Seasoning is important…

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Meanwhile, heat up the butter or bacon fat in your skillet until it’s melted. I use my 12″ cast iron skillet, because I’m cool like that.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Place the potatoes in the pan, give them a quick stir, then leave them alone to cook on medium-low heat.

The leaving alone part is important. Don’t fuss with them, just let them cook on that side for 8-10 minutes or so.

Now give them a flip. I’m not talented enough to flip the entire potato mass at once, so I flip it in sections. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get it flipped.

Cook the other side 5-8 minutes, or until it’s that lovely shade of golden brown and appropriately crispy.

Serve immediately. Accompany with ketchup if you want, or eat plain for pure shredded hash brown goodness.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Kitchen Notes:

  • If you don’t want to use butter or bacon fat, coconut oil will work in this recipe. I do think butter or bacon grease will offer more flavor, though.
  • Every stovetop is different, so watch the pan closely the first time you make these. You want the heat high enough to crisp up the potatoes, but not so hot that it burns the bottom before the middle has time to cook.
  • It’s tempting to try to crowd the pan with more potatoes (I get greedy sometimes…), but keep in mind that if you do, you’ll likely end up with soft/soggy hash browns. In order for them to nicely crisp up, they need to have room to cook.
  • Serve your homemade hash browns alongside some of my other favorite breakfast foods, like:

4.0 from 2 reviews
Shredded Hash Browns Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 potatoes (Any type will work, but Russets are classic hash brown potatoes. I use medium to large sized spuds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Shred your potatoes. I don't peel mine first, but you can if you want.
  2. Rinse your potatoes.
  3. I simply put my shredded potatoes in a colander, and rinse until the water is clear, not cloudy.
  4. Allow the potatoes to drain thoroughly. I like to squeeze 'em a bit to get out all the moisture I can, or you can pat them dry with a clean dish towel.
  5. Toss in the salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, heat up the butter or bacon fat in your skillet until it's melted.
  7. Place the potatoes in the pan, give them a quick stir, then leave them alone to cook on medium-low heat.
  8. The leaving alone part is important. Don't fuss with them, just let them cook on that side for 8-10 minutes or so.
  9. Now give them a flip. I'm not talented enough to flip the entire potato mass at once, so I flip it in sections. It doesn't matter how you do it, just get it flipped.
  10. Cook the other side 5-8 minutes, or until it's that lovely shade of golden brown and appropriately crispy.
  11. Serve immediately. Accompany with ketchup if you want, or eat plain for pure shredded hash brown goodness.

 

Creamy Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

spinach-quesadilla-recipe-

So I really, really wanted to call this recipe “Weed Quesadillas”

However, I was a little worried some folks might get the wrong idea. Ya know, considering we do live rather close to Colorado…

But all you cool homestead folks know exactly what I’m talking about, right?

Not *that* kind of weed, but rather those lovely plants we are constantly pulling and pruning and mowing from our gardens and yards.

I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for “weeds” as of late. Mr. Emerson says it best:

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve gone from cussing my weeds to appreciating them (well, most of them, at least…), and finding ways to put them to good use.

From eating dandelions, to sautéing up lambs quarters, it’s astounding the bounty you’ll find growing outside when you know how to look.

The first time I ever ate lambs quarters was in cheesy quesadillas. I was so impressed with the outcome, those humble quesadillas set me on a path to learning what other types of useful wild plants I had growing in my yard.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Two Cool Things About This Weed, errr… Spinach Quesadilla Recipe:

1. If you have family members who think eating foraged plants (aka weeds) is absolutely crazy, these quesadillas are a fabulous introduction. They’ll never know… *ahem*

2. You can use any sort of edible leafy green in this quesadilla recipe: lambs quarters, purslane, dandelion greens, plantain leaves, wild amaranth, kale, spinach; whatever you have in the garden, yard, or fridge.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

One Important Reminder About Eating Weeds/Foraging

Please be very, very careful with what wild plants you are picking and eating in your yard. Before I stuck my weeds in my frying pan for the first time, I triple-checked to make sure my identification was accurate. It’s always a good idea to ask your County Extension Agent or a knowledgable forager in your area before you take that first bite.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Creamy Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

(aka Quesadilla a la Weeds)

  • 4 cups spinach leaves (or other dark leafy greens of your choice), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened (how to make cream cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combo of mozzarella and sharp cheddar, but feel free to use whatever you have in your fridge)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Flour tortillas (how to make tortillas)

In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Add the spinach/greens to the pan and allow them to wilt for 3-4 minutes. It will look like a massive quantity at first, but will quickly reduce in size.

Place the cream cheese, tomato, and shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Mix in the spinach/onion mixture. Season with salt & pepper as needed.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Spread two to four tablespoons of the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.

Heat the tortilla in a lightly greased pan, flipping once. Your quesadillas are done when they are a lovely shade of golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Makes 4-6 tortillas, depending on how much filling you put on each one.

Kitchen Notes:

  • I used my cast iron grill pan (affiliate link) to make the lovely lines on my tortillas, but a regular flat pan or griddle will work just fine too.
  • Eat your spinach quesadillas plain, or serve with a side of guacamole, salsa, or sour cream.
  • Homemade tortillas are the best, but if you’re in a hurry, store-bought ones work as well. I used a thin wheat tortilla for this batch.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Creamy Spinach Quesadillas Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4-6 quesadillas
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups spinach leaves (or other dark leafy greens of your choice), roughly chopped
  • ½ of a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • Flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add the spinach/greens to the pan and allow them to wilt for 3-4 minutes. It will look like a massive quantity at first, but will quickly reduce in size.
  4. Place the cream cheese, tomato, and shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Add in the spinach/onion mixture.
  5. Stir to combine. Spread two to four tablespoons of the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.
  6. Heat the tortilla in a lightly greased pan, flipping once. Your quesadillas are done when they are a lovely shade of golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.