Regular, plain ol' sodium chloride is pretty great, but I have a soft spot for flavoured salt, which is super easy to make and super tasty (as long as you pick tasty mix-ins). You can make flavoured salts with herbs, sauces, even wine, provided you use the correct method.
Image by Larry Hoffman.
My favourite is ginger. A little shop near me sold these little jars of ginger salt that I loved so much, I ate it straight from the jar, crystal by crystal. This disturbed my husband greatly and made my tongue hurt, but I regret nothing. The store that made the ginger salt closed down, but my craving for its gingery goodness lives on.
We'll walk you through three different methods for making flavoured salt, along with suggested flavours for each. For all of these recipes, use a flaky, coarse salt like Kosher (cheapest), Maldon, or Fleur de Sel.
The Dry Method
The dry method is the easiest way to make flavoured salt, and it requires no cooking whatsoever. Following The Kitchn's basic ratio of 1 teaspoon flavourings for every 1/4 cup salt, you're free to follow your imagination and play around with whatever dry flavourings you can think of. (If your salt isn't flavourful enough, you can always increase the amount of add-ins to two teaspoons.) For fresh herbs and citrus peels, simply dehydrate them in the oven at a low temperature (around 90°C) first.
How to Make It:
- Dehydrate any fresh ingredients and chop, grind, or process them into tiny bits; you want them roughly the size of a grain of salt or a little bigger.
- Combine flavourings with salt in a small bowl using a fork, your fingers, or whatever stirring implement you choose. You can use a food processor if you wish, just be sure to pulse carefully so as not to pulverize your sodium chloride crystals.
- Store in an airtight container and let everyone get to know each other for a day before using. Flavoured salt will keep up to a year, but may diminish in intensity.
Flavour ideas: Lemon ginger = ¼ cup salt + ½ teaspoon dried lemon zest + ½ teaspoon dried ginger root Tomato basil = ¼ cup salt + ½ teaspoon dried basil + ½ teaspoon dried, chopped sun-dried tomatoes Chilli and lime = ¼ cup salt + ½ teaspoon dried lime zest + ½ teaspoon dried chillis
The Wet Method
The wet method allows you to impart delicious flavour to your salt with intense liquid flavourings, such as hot sauces, savoury or sweet sauces, and other flavoured liquids. This type of salt is great for sprinkling on chips or popcorn, as it allows you to impart the flavour of your favourite sauce without getting everything all wet and soupy. Start with a ratio of 1 tablespoon of liquid per 1/2 cup of salt and increase if needed.
How to Make It (via In Sockmonkey Slippers):
- Combine salt and sauce in a food processor and pulse until the completely combined. (The salt will take on the colour of the sauce and there should be no white patches.)
- Spread onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper and dry in the oven for two hours at 75°C, stirring frequently.
- Once your salt is completely dry, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a year (provided you did a thorough job drying it out).
Flavour ideas: Curry ketchup salt, spicy mustard salt, hoisin salt, BBQ salt, Teriyaki salt, any damn sauce salt.
The Reduction Method
Let's say you want salt that tastes like pinot noir or Jagermeister, god help you. You could use the above wet method, but a tablespoon of alcohol isn't going to lend much flavour, especially after most of it evaporates in the oven. Instead, you're going to want to reduce your alcoholic liquid of choice (three cups for one cup of salt) first. This intensifies the flavours before you combine it with the salt. The thickened viscosity of the resulting syrup also prevents your sodium chloride crystals from dissolving on contact, which is a nice added bonus.
How to Make It (via In Sockmonkey Slippers):
- Add three cups of your desired liquid to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until a syrup forms and the reduction is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Immediately add to the salt and stir until completely combined and no white patches are visible.
- Spread onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper and dry in the oven for two hours at 170°F, stirring frequently.
- Once salt is completely dry, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Wine salt, stout salt, limoncello salt, Jagermeister salt (just kidding, that's disgusting.)
Now that you know the basic methods and ratios for making flavoured salts, you are all set to customise the savoury crystal according to your whims and dreams. Sprinkle these dreams on roasted chicken, popcorn, even dark chocolate, and if you have a particularly tasty dream, be sure to share it in the comments below.