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gifts from your kitchen – flavored salts

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It’s been a while since I got crafty in the kitchen to prepare gifts of the food variety kind – but I absolutely had to make good use of the salt that my son brought back from the Dominican Republic on a school trip last May.  This salt comes directly from the salt flats and unlike the processed kind that we’re used to, it holds a lot of moisture and is pretty wet to the touch.  While teaching young elementary children in Monte Cristi, our kids took a break and visited one of the salt flats and mines which is definitely something quite out of the ordinary…….

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Since I used a combination of the salt from the Dominican Republic along with kosher salt, I had to dry out the Dominican Republic salt by using both an oven method (spread on a baking sheet and bake at 225°F for about an hour) and also drying it out in a skillet over low heat for about 15 minutes.  It was a little bit of a process, but with the origin of the salt being the “story” behind this gift from my son it was definitely worthwhile.  And – the skillet method seemed to work a little better and faster just in case you ever find that you are the recipient of salt directly from the salt flats.

The beauty of making flavored salts yourself is that there’s no end to the combinations you can create.  Besides using dried spices and herbs from your pantry, try zesting citrus and letting the zest sit out on parchment paper for a day or two to dry out – it makes a great addition to the salt.  I love using Meyer lemons and combined with dried fresh rosemary, it makes a wonderful dry rub for a pork roast.

If you’re looking for some other ideas for flavored salts in addition to the ones below, please check out this link to my friend Dara at Cookin Canuk or this December 2015 link to the Food Network Magazine’s section on 50 Gift Jars.  All make great gifts and you can find jars at any local kitchen store or stores such as Marshall’s, Home Goods, and Hobby Lobby.  Dress them up with a pretty ribbon or strands of raffia and attach a label with the salt’s name and suggested uses in recipes.  Happy Holidays!

 

 

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