homemade fresh basil and lemon zest herbed salt in a glass spice jar with a cork lid

Zesty Lemon Basil Salt | An Easy 3-Ingredient Herbed Citrus Salt Recipe

When life gives you more basil than you know what to do with, make salt. And when you’ve eaten yourself silly with pesto, make salt. And after all the ice cube trays are full of your minced basil in olive oil, again, make salt. Like making pesto or freezing your fresh herbs in oil, herbal salts are another great way to use and preserve an overabundance of herbs. Plus, they outshine plain ol’ sea salt by light-years. This herbed salt recipe uses citrus peels and fresh basil and was born to add a little plant-y pizazz to your plate.

SEARCH THIS ARTICLE:
Why You Should Make Herbed Salt
The Healthiest Kind of Salt
Health Benefits of Basil
Health Benefits of Citrus
How to Make Citrus & Fresh Basil Herbed Salt
Herbed Salt FAQs
Citrus & Fresh Basil Herbed Salt Recipe

Resources & Further Reading

This post may contain affiliate links. Botany Culture is 100% reader-supported. If you make purchases from any of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclaimer here.

basil lemon herbed salt drying on a sheet pan
The brilliant bright green color of herbed salts made with fresh herbs will dull slightly as it dries.

Why You Should Make Herbed Salt

How often do you reach for the salt every day? I’m going to guess that it’s more than once, right?!

So why not take the opportunity to take something you’re already using every day and amp up the health benefits?!

Herbed salts are not only a great way to preserve an overabundance of herbs, but they’re also a great way to make sure you’re adding nutritive and medicinal plants to your meals every day.

And while it’s not as if you’re getting a giant dose of vitamins and minerals in using herbal salts, it still counts for something. Taking a tonic approach to your total health is a preventative approach.

As opposed to scrambling at the last minute to take care of whatever health issues may arise, the aim of engaging in herbal wellness through incorporating more nutritive and medicinal plants in your everyday recipes and remedies is to support your body in being able to better resist disease.

And when it comes to our health and wellness, isn’t it the little things that oftentimes matter the most?

Herbal condiments, like this herbed salt, not only add extra flavor and nutrients to the food you’re eating but also contribute to your overall health. When used in small amounts over long periods of time, these gentle & nourishing herbs & spices can help to keep our bodies in balance, ultimately supporting our overall health & wellness.

It’s a big job for salt, huh? The plants can work magic when we use them correctly.


The Healthiest Kind of Salt

There are so many kinds of salt to choose from that it can be overwhelming. There’s regular iodized table salt, sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, kosher salt, and many others.

While they’re all generally composed of sodium and chloride, there are differences in the mineral contents that may result in slightly different flavors and colors.

I suggest using what is easily available and most economical for you, aiming for high-quality mineral sea salts. Himalayan salt, Celtic salt, or any number of other sea salts are all great options. These sea salts are much more nutritive than regular table salt which often contains additives and anti-caking agents.

The Health Benefits of Basil

The popular culinary herb is not only delicious, basil (Ocimum basilicum) is wildly nutritive and medicinal as well. It’s a warming and highly aromatic herb that’s also antibacterial and antiviral, as well as soothing to both the central nervous system and the digestive system.

Basil tea can be drunk to help soothe digestive complaints such as stomach cramps, constipation, gas, bloating, and nausea. And it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties make it a great herb for immune system support during cold and flu season, or any time of the year.

In modern medicine, the most important pharmacological uses of basil include supporting the treatment of:

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • stress and anxiety
  • inflammation
  • arthritis
  • cardiovascalar disease
  • and more!

The Health Benefits of Citrus

This herbed salt recipe includes lemon zest, the healthiest part of the lemon! Full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, the peel of the lemon contains the highest concentration of beneficial phytochemicals. And we’re putting all of it into our homemade herbal salt!

Studies have shown the health benefits of lemon to include:

  • antimicrobial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-cancer
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant (high in vitamin C)

Plus, lemon is also considered to be a great plant to help support your body’s systems of natural detoxification in that it can help your body eliminate toxins and metabolic wastes.


How to Make Lemon Zest & Fresh Basil Herbed Salt

Making herbed salt is so easy! It comes together in as little as 10 minutes. However, it does take a little patience in waiting for it to fully dry which can take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on the environmental conditions.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need and how to make this citrus and fresh basil herbed salt. You’ll find the full, detailed recipe at the bottom of this post.

Equipment

  • Veggie Peeler (Good grief, there are some janky veggie peelers out in the world! If you struggle with yours, check this veggie peeler out. I’ve had it for years and it’s been through many a professional kitchen with me!)
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Food Processor (A mini food processor is helpful here since we’re making such a small amount of salt, but a regular sized one does the trick as well.)
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Small Sheet Pan (for curing/drying the salt)
  • Airtight Storage Container (A 6-8oz glass jar is perfect. If you’d like something more decorative, try these glass spice jars with bamboo lids. They come in all different sizes and are perfect for many of your herbal creations like herbal salts, herbal tea blends, home-dried herbs and spices, and more!)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Basil, organic if possible
  • Large Lemon, organic if possible
  • Sea Salt (You can use any mineral sea salt you’d like. Fine grain is best.)

Method

  1. Rinse and dry the basil. The basil should be as dry as possible. If the basil is straight out of your garden, I’d skip washing it and just shake or dust off any dirt and/or bugs. Otherwise, rinse the basil and then use hand towels to gently dry as much water off as possible. (You could use a salad spinner to help dry the basil as well.)
  1. Wash, dry, and peel the lemon. Rinse and dry the lemon and then use a high-quality veggie peeler to carefully peel the lemon rind off in thin slices. Some of the white pith is okay, but try to avoid large chunks of it. Then use a sharp knife to mince the peel.
  1. Add all ingredients to the food processor. Pulse the ingredients together a few times, scrape down the sides, then let the processor run for ~30 seconds. Pause to scrape down the sides again. Continue to pulse until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides as often as necessary.

    When the mixture is uniform in consistency, it should be bright green and moist (almost like the consistency of a fine sugar scrub).
  1. Evenly spread mixture onto a sheet pan. Use your rubber spatula to transfer the salt from the food processor bowl to a sheet pan and spread the mixture out as evenly as possible.
  1. Allow the salt to fully dry. This could take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on the humidity in your environment. In my Florida kitchen, I let this salt dry for 3 days just to be on the safe side. The salt will naturally work to pull the moisture from the herbs, effectively preserving and curing it. Place the sheet pan in a dry environment out of direct sunlight. Stir the salt around at least once a day. You’ll notice that as the salt dries, it will become less vibrant in color.

    I’ll often keep drying fresh herb salt blends in the oven when not in use. However, if the humidity is low, leaving the salt to dry by an open window can be nice as well and will fill your home with incredible herbal aromas. Anywhere dry and out of direct sunlight works.

    **Alternatively, dry your fresh herb salts in a dehydrator on its lowest setting. You could also use the oven on its lowest setting, but watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t over cook. If you’re salt turns brown and loses its lovely smell, it’s been cooked and should be discarded. I’ve lost many a beautiful herbal salt to an oven and a lack of patience.
  1. If necessary, pulse the dry salt in the food processor a few times. As the salt dries, it may form little clumps. When the salt is completely dry, add the salt back in the food processor (or spice grinder or mortar & pestle) and pulse a few times to break up the clumps. If you’re wanting to add the salt to a spice jar with a shaker top, I highly recommend this step.
  1. Store the dry salt in an airtight container. Keep the jar in a cool and dry location out of direct sunlight. It’s very important that the storage jar is airtight as moisture may rehydrate the herbs and cause the salt to mold. If stored properly, your lemon basil salt can last up to a year.
Nourishing Herbal Gifts eBook - Nourishing Herbal Gifts | The Art Of Herbal Gifting & 20+ Simple, Practical, & Delicious Recipes by Botany Culture

Looking for something a lil’ more personal than traditional store-bought stuff & things?!

Herbal salts, infused liqueurs, herbal honey, fancy culinary oils… they’re all so easy to make, incredibly nourishing, & make lovely gifts for your friends & family. Find easy-to-follow simple recipes & more in this ebook:
Nourishing Herbal Gifts | The Art Of Herbal Gifting & 20+ Simple, Practical, & Delicious Recipes

Stock Your Herbal Pantry with These!

Herbs de Provence Infused Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary, Garlic, & Lemon Sea Salt
Savory Cinnamon & Spice Herbal Salt
Stinging Nettle Dukkah
Candied Fennel Seeds


Tips, Tricks, & FAQs

How To Use Herbed Salt

Surprise! You can use herbed salt in any and every way that you’d use regular salt. Herbed salt will, of course, be flavored according to the herbs and spices you use. This makes it fun to get creative in the kitchen and pair certain herbed salts with certain types of foods and cuisines.

This citrus and fresh basil herbal salt pairs really nicely with Italian and Mediterranean-inspired foods. I suggest experimenting with sprinkling your herbal salts on all kinds of foods. You may discover a new flavor combination that you just absolutely love but would have never even considered before.

Use your herbed salts as finishing salts at the table or use them in cooking.

My best tip for using your herbal salts is to keep them on the dinner table right next to your regular salt. This helps you to remember to use them and reap the rewards of their unique flavor and health benefits at every meal.

How long does herbal salt last?

This depends on whether the herbal salt is made with fresh or dried herbs and spices, how it’s processed, and how the salt is stored. An herbal salt made with dried herbs and spices can last 1-3 years if stored in an airtight container. I recommend using herbal salts made with fresh herbs and spices within a year.

Always use your senses. If you notice any unfavorable changes in color, taste, smell, or general appearance, it’s always best to discard the salt and start over with a new batch.

What’s the best way to store herbal salt made with fresh herbs?

The best way to store your dried herbal salts is in an airtight container in a cool and dry location out of direct sunlight. A spice cabinet, drawer, or kitchen pantry is a great place. However, be mindful of cabinets or drawers above the stove/oven, over your coffee maker or electric tea kettle, or anywhere else it might be subjected regularly to heat and moisture.

And while many spice jars make lovely display pieces, ensure they’re out of direct sunlight. Sunlight or bright light will degrade the quality of your herbs more quickly.

If you’re looking for some stylish spice jars, try these:


For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!


Fresh Basil & Lemon Herbed Sea Salt

Course: CondimentsCuisine: Mediterranean, ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Quantity

0.75

cup
Prep time

10

minutes
Drying time

1-3

days

The beautiful herbal salt is easy to make and not only adds amazing flavor to your food, but is also higher in vitamins and minerals than plain ol’ table salt. Use in any way that you’d use regular salt and keep this salt on your dinner table for easy access.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh organic basil, loosely packed

  • 1 peel from a large organic lemon*

  • 3/4 cup fine grain sea salt**

Directions

  • Rinse and dry the basil. The basil should be as dry as possible. If the basil is straight out of your garden, I’d skip washing it and just shake or dust off any dirt and/or bugs. Otherwise, rinse the basil and then use handtowels to gently dry as much water off as possible. (You could use a salad spinner to help dry the basil as well.) More moisture means longer for the finished salt to cure, a greater possibility of mold, and a shorter shelf-life.
  • Wash, dry, and peel the lemon. Rinse and dry the lemon and then use a high-quality veggie peeler to carefully peel the lemon rind off in thin slices. Some of the white pith is okay, but try to avoid large chunks of it. This should be pretty easy with a good veggie peeler. Then use a sharp knife to mince the lemon peel. (If you don’t mince it, it’s more likely you’ll end up with larger bits of lemon peel in your finished salt.)
  • Add all ingredients to the food processor. Pulse the ingredients together a few times, scrape down the sides, then let the processor run for ~30 seconds. Pause to scrape down the sides again. Continue to pulse the processor until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated stopping to scrape down the sides as often as necessary.

    When the mixture is uniform in consistency, it should be bright green and moist (almost like the consistency of a fine sugar scrub). You shouldn’t see any unprocessed bits of basil or lemon peel.
  • Evenly spread the mixture onto a sheet pan. Use your rubber spatula to transfer the salt from the food processor bowl to a sheet pan and spread the mixture out as evenly as possible.
  • Allow the salt to fully dry. This could take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on the humidity in your environment. If you’re worried about it drying fully, just leave it to dry for 3 days to be on the safe side.

    The salt will naturally work to pull the moisture from the herbs, effectively preserving and curing it. Place the sheet pan in a dry environment out of direct sunlight. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the salt around at least once a day. You’ll notice that as the salt dries, it will become less vibrant in color and it will sound different on the sheet pan as you stir it around.

    I’ll often keep drying fresh herb salt blends in the oven when not in use. They stay out of the way and are way less exposed to moisture in the air. However, if the humidity is low, leaving the salt to dry by an open window can be nice as well and will fill your home with incredible herbal aromas. Anywhere dry and out of direct sunlight works.

    **Alternatively, dry your fresh herb salts in a dehydrator or oven on its lowest setting.
  • If necessary, pulse the dry salt in the food processor a few times. As the salt dries, it may form little clumps. Try to break these up as much as possible when you give the drying salt a stir each day. When the salt is completely dry, add the salt back in the food processor and pulse a few times to break up the clumps. If you’re wanting to store the salt in a spice jar with a shaker top, I highly recommend this step.
  • Store the dry salt in an airtight container. Keep the jar in a cool and dry location out of direct sunlight. It’s very important that the storage jar is airtight as moisture may rehydrate the herbs and cause the salt to mold. If stored properly, your lemon basil salt can last up to a year.

Did you make this?
Tag
@_botanyculture_ in your snaps on Instagram
& hashtag it #botanyculture.


Resources & Further Reading

You can find sources for much of the information cited in this article linked within the text. Here are a few other resources for further reading:

how to make fresh basil & lemon zest herbal sea salt recipe

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*