Salty, funky, and full of flavor, this spread will enliven anything you serve with it.
While dehydrating woody herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary locks in the flavor, I find annual herbs preserved by drying pretty underwhelming when it comes to flavor. I’ve come to love fermenting them in a brine or in a paste—their fresh flavor really comes through with the introduction of lactic acid during fermentation. It’s a good idea to make small jars of these guys because you will only use a few leaves or a spoonful or two at a time.
Fermented Fresh Herbs
- 1 cup fresh, whole herb leaves lightly packed
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 - 3 bunches cilantro parsley or basil
- ½ tsp salt
- For the Brine-Fermented Fresh Herbs, pack a 1-cup (237-ml) jam jar with the herb leaves, leaving a bit of headspace. Combine the water and sea salt and pour over the herbs. Weigh down as you would sauerkraut, cover and allow to ferment for 5 to10 days or until tangy and bubbling.
- Transfer to cold storage. Keeps for several months at room temperature if left unopened. Will keep for 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature once opened or store for up to 6 months when refrigerated.
- The Chopped/Paste method turns out a roughly chopped paste that creates its own brine, much like sauerkraut does.
- Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and chop them finely. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with sea salt.
- Transfer herbs, salt and any brine in the bottom of the bowl to one or two 1-cup (237-ml)-size jars, as needed. Pack them down tightly and check the level of the brine. If it hasn’t come up above the level of the herbs, add salt brine with a ratio of 2 teaspoons (10 g) of salt to 1 cup (237 ml) water.
- Weight down with a fermentation weight and cover the jar tightly. Ferment for 5 to 10 days or until tangy. Once fermentation is complete, transfer to cold storage.
- Will keep for several weeks at room temperature, 2 to 3 months in a root cellar or up to 6 months refrigerated.