Onion Weed, Kawakawa and Kelp Super Salt
This nutrient dense super salt so delicious and nutritious you'll want to put it on everything!
A pest and invasive weed to many this is my favourite edible ‘weed’. Its juicy stalks and pretty little white flowers are a perfect alternative to chives and spring onions with its delicate onion flavour. The entire plant is edible including the bulbs that can be harvested in late summer. Use the flowers to garnish salads, egg dishes, soups, dips, Asian style dishes, they pretty much make anything look impressive!
The super food allium family has many benefits to enjoy including being a prebiotic which provide food for friendly bacteria in the large intestine. They help with memory and Alzheimer’s due to the high levels of lutein and folate. Helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, stimulates the circulatory blood system and is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Plus it contains chlorophyll, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
One of my favourite versatile native plants is kawakawa, it has a delicious deep pepper flavour as it from the pepper family (same as the peppercorn). I love to use it in herbal salt blends, added to immune boosting broths, tonics, smoothies, as a tea or infused into oils for skin care and joint pain.
In Maori rongoa medicine the Kawakawa leaves were chewed for toothache it was also used externally to treat boils, eczema and rheumatism. It has cleansing properties which may help support skin problems such as boils and acne. It has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties for using as a skin oil or balm. Kawakawa promotes a healthy urinary system and is used for a healthy digestive system and stomach ailments, its bitter and stimulating properties makes it excellent for constipation and it is used to support IBS, cramping, bloating and indigestion.
It is important to note that in Rongoa Maori best practise is to karakia before harvesting medicinal plants like kawakawa. Out of respect to Papatuanuku, mother earth and all the plants she grows for not only us, but all the creatures, and nature itself, it is important to give thanks and ask before taking, only taking what you need and leaving the new leaves to grow so the plant will live on.
Kelp and brown sea weeds
The clean waters around New Zealand contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential enzymes, which the kelp absorbs as it grows, and once consumed, can be absorbed by the human digestive system. I love to utilise seaweeds in the kitchen. I add a couple of dried pieces to pretty much all stocks or broths I make and this salt goes on pretty much everything else!
Kelp and brown seaweeds such as bladder kelp or common kelp (ecklonia radiata) are often referred to as a superfood due to their significant vitamin and mineral content. Brown seaweeds have a high iodine content, which maintain optimal thyroid and pituitary gland function – glands that control your hormones, body temperature and metabolism. It is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. In fact it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food, even milk. In the summertime I rinse well in salt water at the beach then dry them on the washing line until crispy then store in jars (with lids on) in my pantry.
ONION WEED, KAWAKAWA AND KELP SUPER SALT RECIPE
I forage for seaweed and kawakawa when the opportunity presents itself, so already have these ready to go, but you can also buy seaweed, kelp or wakame readily in stores. Kawakawa is pretty abundant if you take a walk in the bush anywhere in New Zealand. An alternative could be rosemary or other native pepper bushes in different parts of the world. In the spring time there are only two methods for drying, either in a dehydrator or in a very low oven and once you have dehydrated any of these ingredients they will keep in a jar for over a year, so you can have it on hand to make another batch anytime!
Vegan | Gluten-free
Makes 1 c (200g)
Gather your ingredients and pre-heat oven to 50-60°C and line a perforated tray (if using this method), otherwise get your dehydrator set up. Prepare the following and spread out in a single layer:
1 c onion weed, sliced into 5mm slices
8-10 kawakawa leaves
2 hand sized pieces of kelp or seaweed
Dry until crispy to touch, it will take from 2 to 4 hours depending on whether you use an oven, dehydrator and what kind you have. Grind in batches in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle with:
1/2 c rock salt
Grind to the to the consistency you prefer and store in a jar with the lid secure. It will last indefinitely. Enjoy this salt on everything! It also makes a fantastic stock substitute.
Let me know if you make and enjoy this friends and tag @theveggietree on social if you share.