Sea salt is rich in minerals. So are many weeds growing in lawns and gardens. Joining forces, these five weeds and the sea salt we love will brighten up our dishes. *Recipe at the bottom of this post.
Wild weeds tend to have a more dense nutrient content on a per weight basis than cultivated crops. Let's talk a little about each of the weeds I've included in this finishing salt.
Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)
Edible and medicinal plant. High in vitamins and minerals and very nutritive. Can be blanched in a soup, in smoothies, added to casseroles like you would spinach, made into tea, used as a tincture and included in salts blends. This plant is a tonifier and histamine reaction queller. An herbalist's must have.
Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale)
Potassium. It's our Ohio banana. The leaves are full of up to 4.5% of it! Also acting as a diuretic but one that feeds potassium back into the system instead of depleting it like some diuretics. As a bitter herb, it helps the digestive system and when used regularly can help to build tone in the body. Sautéed, added to smoothies, added to salad or brewed into an infusion, this is a staple weed in the herbalist's cupboard.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
I learned about ground ivy in my first ten minutes of the Lindera course I took with Jim McDonald. It was the infamous 'pass around the unnamed infusion and see how it feels' trick we herbalists like to pull on people. I had never tasted it before and it gave me lots of feelings. Now, because I know about its respiratory benefits and heavy metal pulling properties, I like to add it to anything I can that will be eaten by my family (including tea).
Purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum)
Edible and medicinal mint family plant native to Europe but naturalized in North America. One of bees' favorite foods and one of the first plants to emerge in spring. Known to have astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, nutritive and styptic qualities. Can be added to salads, soups, made into pesto with mint, garlic, olive oil and lemon, or brewed as an herbal tea. It is in my salt blend for its vitamin and mineral content.
Wild Onion (Allium canadense)
Like all alliums, onions are antimicrobial and stimulating. This makes them valuable when you have a cold but also to help stave off illness. These just pop up everywhere around here and if I can get to them before the kids eat them all right there in the yard, I add them to our cooking as after thoughts or in cold salads or infuse in vinegar (with all these herbs) for salad dressing, or make into these salts.
This took me all of 5 minutes to harvest. *Wear gloves, those nettles are bitey
A good practice is to wash your herbs and dry them off before mixing with the salt if they are covered in pollen, dirt, or anything else found in wild spaces. I use a salad spinner to spin mine dry then lay them out and pat them with kitchen towels to get extra dry. I don't always wash mine when we are only using them in our own cooking.
*Do remember not to forage or harvest from areas that have been treated with chemicals.
Using a packed cup of herbs to one cup of sea salt is about a full tiny food processor. Once I grind these together, I usually add a little more herbs for good measure (see top photo under title).
There it is. Easy. Now you can use it on any food finishing you like (popcorn!). Truthfully, I even use it prebake on roasted potatoes, veggies, and chicken.
1 cup sea salt of choice
1 cup packed fresh herbs* of nettles, dandelion leaves, ground ivy, purple dead nettles, and wild onions
*Any proportions you like: I tend to go heavier on the nettles and dandelion
HOW TO USE:
Add as a finishing salt to nearly any dish. Use it on popcorn, baking bread, pretzels, soups, roasted veggies or chicken, pork, pasta salad, french fries, etc
Sarah is a community herbalist, raising children, teaching children and adults the ways of herbalism and nature, and handcrafting herbal products for the community.