The Search for Salt: Coltsfoot Galloping to the Rescue?

Recently we wrote about Suzanne’s investigation of coltsfoot as an alternative source of salt, which Suzanne needs for flavouring and preserving over the next year. Well, Suzanne tried it. It was like magic!

If you taste a fresh or a dried coltsfoot leaf, it really doesn’t have much taste — perhaps a fine hint of celery flavour. But if you burn it, the resulting ash tastes salty! Admittedly it’s a smoked salt taste, but definitely salty.

It may look like the opposite of salt, but burnt coltsfoot ash has a definite salty flavour. Photo by Suzanne Crocker.
Suzanne tried mixing the burnt coltsfoot in with foods during preparation and unfortunately the salt taste didn’t really transfer, but when sprinkled on top it works – as long as the coltsfoot ash touches your tongue.

So it looks like Suzanne’s family will be shaking on the coltsfoot ash this year! The experiment with mineral salt licks is also in the works, so we’ll be reporting back on that soon as well.

4 Replies to “The Search for Salt: Coltsfoot Galloping to the Rescue?”

    1. Hi Sylvie

      We put the dried coltsfoot on a flat rock outdoors (when it wasn’t windy) and burned it directly using a BBQ lighter and then we collected the ash. I have done the same in a cast iron frying pan – again burning it directly with a lighter or a match (it takes a while so a BBQ lighter with constant flame is a good option). It is quite the remarkable experiment – when you taste a bit of dried coltsfoot leaf, it tastes like nothing. But after you burn it, the ash tastes salty! The other interesting thing is that it only tastes salty if the ash touches your tongue. If you mix the ash into food, you don’t get the salty taste to mix into the food.
      Let me know how your experiment goes!

  1. Thank you that is interesting. Tried it with cashews cheese after I asked you that question like morbier cheese. It looked good and added a bit of salt.

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