Hand-picket healthy herbs blend in the white gold which made Salzburg rich in former times. Herbal salt is up-to-date due to various aspects: it adds great relish to meals, it includes plant-based ingredients into everyday life and the production is very simple. The herbal salt factory for kids in Thalgau in Austria shows how to do it.
Full of expectation Isi, Romy, Felix and Fabian gather at the large table, which was used for producing bread, in the living room of the Hundsmarkt Mill. In former times rye sourdough was left here to rest, it seems as if there is still some smell or aroma in the air.
Fresh and dried herbs are ready to use, rose salt and several mortars, too. With his happy and friendly character Reini Friedl quickly connects with the young visitors. „First we are harvesting herbs in the garden“ Reini explains, „from the herbs we make bunches and hang them up until next week. What we take from the stock of dried herbs we restore immediately.”
Outside in the garden we can find odorous thyme, tender lemon balm and rosemary. The wild oregano, in Austria also called Dost, calendula and bergamot are already in flower. This adds colour to the herbal salt. After Reini has shown them which herbs are ready for harvest, the children cut selected stems cautiously.
Back in the living room the herbs are tied into bunches and hung up. This way they dry in the shadow for one week.
Now we focus on the salt. Reini asks the children where the salt comes from? They are not sure whether it is from the mountains or from the ocean. It is rock salt from Altaussee, which is palpitated out of the mountain and then ground. In this quality you can find it only in very few places today. Now each child gets raw salt into the mortar and can choose from the dried herbs. The herbs are very dry, it makes a clicking noise when the stems are broken.
The plungers sound sandy, dull and rhythmic on the grains of salt. Girls and boys eagerly try to grind the salt and the herbs. One experience is especially impressive for the little “herb artists”: they are told to only use very small portions of herbs and to create an own, tasty mixture. “Less is more” should be the motto for the daily routine.
Then Reini has got a very aromatic ingredient. Everybody receives a small piece of it: dried ceps which he has collected on his own. From time to time one puts the nose into the mortar and the facial expression directly shows the sensation. Children have a very sensible nose, which demands a sensitive treatment with herbs.
It‘s done! Reini is very impressed by the children’s enthusiasm. In a small glass the children take home the self-mixed herbal salt.
German Text and photographs: © Karin Buchart and SalzburgerLand.com
Kontakt and shortened English version: Dr. W.Doster,
optimisation of the English version: Andrea Preschl )