Every Christmas Eve Kyle and I host an open house for friends, family and clients. Many of our clients are elderly and live in town alone, far from family. It gives them a place to go complete with food, drinks and company. It is also a way for us to say ‘Thank you’ to all the people who have chosen us and have given us their business over the past year. In many ways our clients become like family or at the least really good friends so it is always a fun way to connect outside of work, complete with Bloody Mary’s and endless amounts of cookies. This year we wanted to make each guest a small gift and wanted something practical, something everyone would use, and something that would last. We also didn’t want anything sweet as sweets dominate the holiday season and most people have had enough by the time Christmas hits. So we decided on flavored salts. We have two rosemary bushes in our backyard and I had a jar of dried serrano chili peppers from our summer garden just waiting to be used. We figured everyone uses salt and even if they don’t use it often, it will never go bad. Win – win.
Flavored salt is SUPER easy to make and the options are endless. Give it as gifts, favors at weddings, or just make your own for cooking with. You can do sweet or savory blends, herbal blends, spicy, or any combination in between. Think of the flavors you love and use often and get creative. It was a hit and everyone loved the idea. Plus the little jars can be used after the salt is gone to hold various other spices. Our jars were heavy on the salt, lighter of the other flavors. But if you don’t like a lot of salt you could also make your own seasoned salt blends or seasoning blends with just a touch of salt. This is an expensive way to make a homemade gift that just about everyone will like.
- Fresh rosemary (I used about two handfuls, as far as I am concerned you can’t have too much.)
- Dried chili’s (I used a handful of dried serranos and 2 dried anchos, seeds included.)
- Sea salt (I used about 53 ounces of salt for each flavor for a total of 106 ounces.)
- Glass containers (I got the ones pictured above on Amazon. I purchased 24 total.)
- I found a few different sets of directions for rosemary salt so I decided to combine a few of the options to make mine.
- Pick one handful (or buy from the store) of rosemary and set aside for a few days to dry out. You could also just buy dried rosemary but the flavor will likely be more intense if you start with the fresh stuff.
- Add salt to a saucepan and add in fresh rosemary. No need to chop it or anything, just throw in the whole sprigs. You’ll want to warm this up on low heat and stir frequently. You basically just want to get it warm to help the flavors to infuse. Maybe 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for at least 24 hours.
- Remove the sprigs from the salt and set salt aside. Strip the leaves (is that what you call those?!) from the twig. Put them in a food processor. Take your dried rosemary and also put the green parts of that into the food processor. Blend until you have small pieces.
- Mix back in with your salt and pour into a container.
*You could also mix in dried garlic, basil, thyme, or various other herbs. *Rosemary salt would be great over potatoes, chicken, in soups or sauces.
- Remove the stems from the chili’s and placed the whole chili, seeds included in the food processor. Blend until it is the consistency you want. You can find dried chilies in the Mexican/Ethnic foods section of the grocery store or at Mexican grocery stores.
- If you don’t want this to be crazy spicy, remove the seeds first.
- BEWARE: Blending the chili’s creates a fine, chili dust that is pretty much like getting sprayed in the face with pepper spray. I thought I was going to die. My eyes were burning and I was choking. My husband was laughing. Until he started choking too. You can’t really get around this so just be prepared for it and try not to breathe. The best bet is to let it sit in your food processor until the dust settles and not open it right away. Also be careful touching chili’s with your bare hands. Use gloves or wash your hands SUPER well before touching your eyes, nose, or anything else.
- Mix the blended chili’s with your salt and pour into containers. Easy peasy.
*I’ve used this in guacamole, salsa, and in soups. But if you like spicy foods the options are endless for this.
What flavor combination would you make?