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Herb enthusiast Mary Jo Rusu shows us how we can use herbs to ditch the salt from our diets.

Dump the Salt and Pass the Herbs - Recipes by Herb Enthusiast Mary Jo Rusu

Drying Herbs:

July and August are great months to harvest herbs.
Dry herbs are more flavorful then fresh herbs so you can use a third less than you would of a fresh mix.
Collect herbs on hot sunny days, wash and pat dry with paper towels.
Discard any yellow or brown leaves.
Note while Basil, Thyme, Lavender, Sage and Savory are great dried, herbs ike parsley, chives and tarragon are best used fresh or chopped, placed in a zip lock bag and freezer to use when needed.

3 Quick and easy ways to dry herbs:

1 Really Fast:
Fold fresh herbs in a layer of paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Check the herbs and continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until they are crisp.

2. Fast:
Layout herbs on newspapers on the backseat of your car of back windshield on a
hot sunny day and leave until crisp.

3. Slow but preserves the flavor best:
Cut the herbs at the base of the stem and group 3-5 stems by tying them at the base
with twine. Hang the bundle upside down in a dark, dry area of your home until crisp.
Place the dried herbs in jars.

No Salt Herb Blend (makes 1 cup)

2 bay leaves, cut into very tiny pieces
4 tablespoons of dried onions
4 tablespoons of oregano leaves
4 teaspoons of marjoram leaves
4 teaspoons of basil leaves crushed
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
4 teaspoons of ground savory
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon of dried and chopped lemon peel
1 teaspoon of sage leaves or 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper.

1. Combine ingredients and crush small amounts.

2. Spoon into container and let flavors come to a zesty peak for about 3 weeks before using it.

3. Use on salad greens, sliced tomatoes, cooked or raw vegetables, cottage cheese, eggs, meats
and burgers. Feel free to add other dried herbs you like for your very own brand!

No Salt Salad Dressing

½ cup of Miracle Whip
1/2 teaspoon of sugar, honey or agave syrup
a dash of pepper
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of No Salt Herb Blend
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

1. Blend all ingredients.

2. Place in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

3. Use as a dip or thin with 3 tablespoons of milk for a salad dressing.

Figgy Herb Balls
Servings: apx 10

5 dried figs, chopped finely
8 tablespoons of No Salt Herb Blend
5 ounces of goat cheese, cream cheese or soy cream cheese

1. Mix the dried figs with the No Salt Herb Blend and place on a shallow plate.

2. Roll 1 tablespoon of cheese into a small ball.

3. Roll cheese ball into the herb mixture making sure to incorporate the little fig pieces.

These are great appetizers...alone or on crackers.
You can also add them to salads.
They are also tasty on steak, chicken or fish. Just slice cheese ball and allow to melt on top of cooked meat.

Mary Jo Rusu is back in studio with new herb creations that'll make your meals sing.
Today she's taken on the task of convincing us to put our salt shakers down...and flavour our foods with herbs instead of sodium.
One of the names has a very silly name...we'll get to that in a minute.
But first Mary Jo is here back with her mortar and pestle and an army of herbs.

Listen audio (runs 7:31)