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Herb Salt + Spiced Sugar: Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts

Herb Salt and Spiced Sugar
Every year the “last-minute holiday gifts!” emails start rolling in around December 10th, and every year my eye-roll gets a little more slow-mo, a little more epic. Last-minute? Please.

I know a thing or two about last-minute, and kiddos, let me tell you that today through Thursday night is when last-minute happens. You still have plenty of time to get busy with homemade gifts, and these two are totally achievable at any point before the big guy with long white beard makes all our impossible dreams come true. This might be a little too crazy since mason jars are widely available everywhere, but at the moment of publication many of you actually still have time to order your jars on Amazon (through my affiliate links here if you like — thank you!) and fill them with beautiful homemade salts and sugars on Christmas Eve. Now we’re talkin’ last-minute.

Herb Salt and Spiced SugarThe best part, though, is that last-minute or no, these gifts are thoughtful and lovely, and almost everyone will like them. The sugar is a new addition to my repertoire this year, but the salt has been a staple over several years, and I always get requests for more that border on showing signs of addiction. No judgment, believe me.

Herb Salt and Spiced SugarHerb Salt and Spiced SugarHerb Salt and Spiced SugarI’ll leave you to finish your holiday prep with warm wishes for the holidays and the rest of 2015. I am so grateful for each of you and your support of Umami Girl this year. Love, peace and umami to all. See you in 2016.

Carlyn xx

P.S. Here’s a little holiday gift for you: printable labels. Buy Avery Labels 22830 and print:

Yield: Makes 12 Gifts

Spiced Sugar Recipe

This aromatic little gem is great to sprinkle over oatmeal, into coffee or tea, or wherever you see fit. I use regular white sugar, but you can substitute any mild flavored sugar you like to use.


  • 3 pounds sugar (about 7 cups)
  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg


Pour the sugar into in a large bowl. Slit the vanilla beans lengthwise with a small, sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the bowl. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg and stir well to distribute all the spices evenly. If there are any clumps, break them up and pass the mixture through a sieve.

Divide spiced sugar among 12 small jars such as these wide-mouth half pint jars -- about 6 heaping tablespoons per jar plus a little extra for good luck.

Herb Salt

Preparation 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 0:30
Serves 12     adjust servings

This salt sprinkles beautifully over a wide variety of savory foods, from avocado toast to risotto to roast chicken.


  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh thyme
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 3-pound box kosher salt


  • Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • Pick the rosemary needles and sage and thyme leaves from the stems and discard stems. Place the herbs in the bowl of a standard food processor (about 12-cup capacity) fitted with the blade. Add the garlic, lemon zest and salt. The bowl will be quite full, but don't worry.
  • Process until the herbs are finely chopped and well distributed throughout the salt.
  • Spread the herb salt onto two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven for 20 minutes. The salt will form a solid slab on each sheet.
  • Break up the slab with your hands, a fork or spoon, a potato masher, whatever you like. Then pass the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl until there are no clumps left.
  • Divide the herb salt among 12 small jars such as these wide-mouth half pint jars. Label and give!
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    Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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