Herbal Bouillon

18 May

In early March, I finally managed to catch a meeting with my local fermentation meetup group– yes, that is a thing that exists!  I usually miss them because of my work schedule.  The March theme of the month was booze and bitters, inspired by spring and the upcoming St. Patrick’s day.  The woman I was sitting next to was gushing about a relatively new book:  Foraging and Feasting by Dina Falconi.  She was so enthusiastic about it that I later looked it up online.  She was right!  It’s awesome.  I now own the book, and I have taken some time to page through it.  It’s full of gorgeous and helpful illustrations by Wendy Hollander, along with a host of recipes.

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Herbal bouillon is the first recipe I have sampled from the book.  Falconi includes suggestions for all sorts of wild herb combinations.  My own version is composed of what I had to use up in my fridge one week in March.  It’s a great recipe if you find yourself with more greens than you have time to eat before they go bad.  The high salt concentration makes this more of a preserve than a true fermentation:  these greens will keep almost indefinitely.  I look forward to this as a way of adding a splash of  vibrant summer green into my otherwise cabbage-laden winter cookery.  In the book, the recipe calls for sixteen ounces of fresh greens.  Sixteen ounces is a LOT of plants.  I pared the recipe down to four ounces of greens and once ounce of sea salt, because that’s the amount I had on hand.  You can use whatever amount you like, but the ratio of salt to greens is important to maintain for preservation purposes.  Four ounces of greens was was perfect for stuffing into a half-pint mason jar.

A few teaspoons of bouillion goes a long way in dressing up a soup.  So far I’ve used it in an otherwise bland leftover chicken soup from my mother-in-law figure and to dress up my own lentil soup.  The most specialized part of the recipe is that you really need a kitchen scale to get the proportions of salt to greens correct.

Herbal Bouillion

Clean and mince 4 ounces of greens.  I used:

2/3 oz basil

2 oz cilantro

1 and 1/3 oz scallions

Mix the herbs with 1 oz celtic sea salt.

Stuff them into a half-pint jar, and store in a cool, dark place.  The fridge works just fine.  I took this picture today.  Notice how it’s still vibrant green,  six weeks later.  The salt will corrode metal, so it’s best to use a plastic lid, or put a layer of wax paper or plastic wrap between your mason jar lid and the glass jar.

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