If, like me, you are inundated by abundant nettles, ground elder and jack by the hedge, don’t despair! There are a plethora of gorgeous recipes that can be made very simply using these abundant and dare I say rather thuggish denizens of the wild garden. Here’s a recipe for a gorgeous salt blend that can be used to liven up all kinds of cooking! I call it Salt of the Earth.
You will need:
Abundant amounts of Jack by the Hedge or Ramsons, Nettle tops and young Ground Elder shoots, picked on a dry day.
Sea salt – coarse or fine ground as you prefer. Or you could use pink himalayan salt if you want!
All you need to do is make sure your herbs are gathered on a dry day, and lay them out in thin layers on baking trays in a cool oven until they are completely dried out and crispy. I put mine in a dehydrator on the lower setting, which took about 8 hours to completely dry the herbs. Once the herbs are completely dry, rub the leaves off the stems into a heavy mortar and pestle – go for one with rough insides and a rough pestle as it makes a much easier job of grinding up the leaves. Pound and rub the leaves thoroughly until they turn into a rich green powder – it really doesn’t take long, especially with a decent mortar and pestle. Add a good tablespoon of salt at least, and ix it in thoroughly – I like to use roughly equal proportions of salt to herbs. Pour the mixture into a tightly sealed glass jar and use in the same way you would any other herb or spice mix. This tastes better than any celery salt I have ever used – it has a mineral kick a bit like seaweed from the nettle tops, a gentle garlic hint from the jack by the hedge, and a rich celery flavour from the ground elder, and is truly delicious. I can’t wait to use it on my roast sprouts, my current favourite food!