How to Create your Own Herb Packets
Too much salt in your diet can lead to increased blood pressure, and it’s for this reason that the Australian Heart Foundation recommends consuming less than 6 grams of salt each day for healthy Australians and 4 grams for those with high blood pressure or heart disease. So instead of reaching for the salt shaker to season your meals, why not create your own healthy herb packets to bring out the flavour in your food! Here’s how:
Growing: Herbs require next to no room to be grown at home, and can even be grown in small pots inside your kitchen windowsill or on your balcony if you don’t have a garden. Basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and coriander grow well potted inside with a little water and sunlight. Pick fresh herb leaves to dry and mix together for homemade seasonings.
Harvesting and drying: Cut herbs when they are at their best in the midmorning if you can. Air-drying herbs can take a couple of days, but you can speed up this process by drying your herbs at a low temperature in the oven. Spread herbs, like thyme, rosemary, or basil, on a lined baking tray and bake for 2-4 hours at a low temperature (around 80 degrees Celsius or lower).
Storing: Store dried herbs in airtight containers, such as sterilised glass jars or zipped freezer bags. Keep the leaves whole until you’re ready to make a spice blend. When creating a herb packet, crush the leaves and mix together your desired ratio of spices, keeping them in zipper bags or small glass jars for quick access when cooking.
Herb mixture ideas: Concentrated flavours of herbs bring out the best in grilled meats and vegetables. Dried rosemary, basil, and thyme crushed together is a tasty way to season chicken. Oregano or sage and a pinch of garlic combined is a great savoury herb mixture for pork. A simple herb packet that resembles traditional Italian seasoning (garlic, thyme, oregano) can be added to fresh summer veggies like zucchini, onion and tomato for a flavourful side.
Even if you don’t grow all of your herbs, you can still mix together store-bought spices to create your own herb packets. For example, a dash of cumin, chilli, paprika, coriander, and cloves mixed together make the perfect seasoning for Mexican-inspired dishes. Or try drying your own lemon zest to combine with crushed peppercorns and garlic for a flavour-packed addition to chicken.