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Vegetable Soup Base (Verdurette)

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Vegetable Soup Base (Verdurette)

This salt-based veggie and herb preserve makes gorgeous soups, dips and sauces

Leda Meredith

This incredibly easy recipe beautifully preserves the fresh flavors and colors of herbs and vegetables for future soups and sauces. It keeps indefinitely - when my jar of verdurette gets low, I simply make a fresh batch and mix it with the remains of the previous one. I've had a jar of it going like that for almost 20 years!

I first encountered verdurette in a wonderful food preservation book entitled Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning. I've since adapted it to my own tastes, and so long as you stick to the basic ratio of 4 parts very finely chopped herbs and vegetables to 1 part salt, you can safely improvise your own version.

This recipe is a great use up of produce that might otherwise go to waste. I use it to preserve fresh herbs that don't dry well, and for root veggies and leafy greens in danger of wilting in my crisper drawer.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peeled, finely chopped onion, or leeks, or scallions

  • 1/4 cup peeled, finely chopped carrots, or other root vegetables*
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery including leaves, or any leafy green such as kale
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley and/or other fresh herbs
  • 1/4 cup kosher or other non-iodized salt

Preparation:

The amounts given are for 1 cup of verdurette, but you can multiply the amount so long as you stick to the 4 parts finely chopped veggies and herbs to 1 part salt ratio.

Make sure the vegetables are very finely chopped (minced) before measuring. A food processor comes in handy for this.

Measure the chopped vegetables and herbs. For every 4 parts of those add 1 part kosher or other non-iodized salt (iodized salt discolors the verdurette). Stir until well combined.

Pack into a clean glass jar, cover, and store in the refrigerator.

To use, leave out any other salt called for in a recipe. Add 1 - 2 teaspoons verdurette to a quart of water for a simple vegetable broth. Add to sauces instead of plain salt. Make a simple but delicious dip by adding a teaspoon of verdurette to 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, or labneh.

Use strongly flavored herbs such as sage, tarragon, cilantro (coriander) and rosemary sparingly in this recipe. Thyme, marjoram, parsley and chives can be used freely.

*The only root vegetables that do not work here are beets and potatoes. Potatoes result in a starchy taste, and including beets will turn any dish you use the verdurette for a magenta color (okay, the kids might smile at a bright pink dip, but...)

Tip: The same 4 to 1 ratio of fresh ingredients to salt can be used to create wonderful herbal salts with herbs that don't dry well, such as cilantro, basil, chives, parsley and rosemary.

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