(This recipe post was contributed by herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt.)
This recipe combines three sources of nutritional powerhouses for a tasty herbal seasoning that adds zest to vegetables, meats, sandwiches, salads, and other savory dishes.
Did you know that the way a food or herb tastes can provide insight into the plant’s chemical constituents or the way we use it as food and medicine?
In herbalism there are five distinct flavor classifications: pungent, salty, sour, bitter and sweet. Each flavor is used in a specific way.
This recipe explores some of the ways we use herbs and foods that have a salty taste.
Oftentimes herbs and foods that are high in minerals are said to have a salty taste. Seaweed is a perfect example of this! Most seaweeds contain large amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium and phosphorous.
Stinging nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) is one of our most nutritious plants and it is also high in vitamins and minerals. Although it doesn’t have an overtly salty taste, it is also classified as a salty herb due to its mineral content. Nettle is especially high in calcium, magnesium, chromium, and zinc.
Sesame seeds have a rich umami taste and are an excellent source of the minerals copper and manganese. They also contain a good amount of magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
The following recipe is part of the upcoming Taste of Herbs Course.
Sea Zest Ingredients
- 1.5 cups toasted and ground up sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup dried granulated kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) (or use whole kelp fronds that have been processed into flakes)
- 1/2 cup dried nettle leaves
Step 1: Preparing the Sesame Seeds
You can buy sesame seeds in packages or in bulk at your natural foods store. Sesame seeds are high in oils and can go rancid easily, so be sure to buy from a fresh source.
Toast the whole sesame seeds on low heat. I like to use a clean and dry cast iron pan for this, but whatever you have will work fine. Be sure to stir the seeds often so they toast evenly and do not burn. Once they become darker in color and have a nice aromatic smell, remove them from heat. This takes about 7-10 minutes.
Using a food processor or blender, grind the seeds into powder and then place in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Mixing It Together
Add the kelp and cut and sifted nettle leaf to the sesame seeds.
If you are beginning with whole kelp fronds or whole nettle leaf then you can use the food processor to mince them up well.
Once it is all mixed together you can bottle it up, label it, and enjoy!
Because sesame seeds are high in oils you’ll want to consume this seasoning quickly so that it doesn’t have a chance to go rancid. If it has gone rancid you’ll notice the strong unpleasant smell.
You can store excess seasoning in the fridge for better storage.
This simple recipe can be a base for many other kinds of seasonings. You could add savory herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano. You could also add spicy seasonings like cayenne, ginger, or turmeric.
This recipe is an excerpt from the upcoming course, Taste of Herbs. Taste is an amazing way to learn HOW herbs work. Rosalee created the Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel to help people learn herbalism using their sense of Taste.
You must check out Rosalee’s epic “Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel” here.
Rosalee de la Forêt is the creator of Taste of Herbs, a new course by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice.