Homemade Gourmet: Make Flavored Sugars and Salts
Create your own gourmet spices with a few simple ingredients.
Makes 1 cup of salt per flavor
- white sugar (one cup per flavor)
- kosher salt (or coarse sea salt-one cup per flavor)
- various herbs and spices (fresh or dried parsley, mint, basil, cinnamon etc)
- 1 cup of red wine
- lemon (or any citrus)
- vanilla bean
- food processor
Custom flavored sugars and salts are a great way to add a bit of zip to your cooking. There are so many combos possible and they can be tailored to your tastes and preferences. Best of all, they make wonderful gifts for foodies and those who “have everything.”
This flavored salt will take the longest, but has such an incredible flavor you’ll be happy you did it. Simmer the cup of red wine on medium heat to reduce (Image 1). Watch it carefully as it starts to evaporate. The goal is to reduce the wine until it’s about 1 tablespoon. At this point it will change into a very thick syrup. Add the cup of salt to the reduced wine and stir to absorb the wine. If there’s excess wine at the bottom of the pot, stir some more salt a tablespoon at a time until it’s gone (Image 2). Spread the salt on a lined cookie sheet and allow the air to complete the drying process (Image 3).
Lemon and Herb Flavors
Flavoring salt or sugars with herbs or citrus is even simpler. Wash and thoroughly dry any fresh herbs you are planning to add. For the citrus, peel the rind without any of the bitter white pith. Use about one cup of loosely packed fresh herbs per cup of salt or sugar. Simply process the herbs or citrus rinds in a food processor with a cup of sugar or salt until well blended. For an even more flavorful salt, add a clove of garlic to some of the savory herbs.
When adding vanilla to sugar, you’ll need to split a fresh vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the flavorful seeds. Don’t toss the pod! Add it to the sugar once you thoroughly mix the vanilla bean seeds and sugars for added vanilla-y flavor.
Drying and Storage
You can let the salts and sugars air dry on your counter or, if you are in a hurry, dry them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Lay the flavored sugar or salt on a lined cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes to dry. Once dried and cooled, use a fork or your fingers to break up salt/sugar. Store the sugar/salt in an airtight jar.
There’s really not a wrong way to combine flavors for sugars and salts. These spices are customizable to your tastes. Some combinations just go great together like parsley, lemon and garlic or mint and garlic. Flavored salts and sugars will be a delicious addition to your—or a friend's—spice rack.