Saltbush

Salt without sodium

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Different varieties have different common names. Varieties grown by Bent Shed are Old Man Saltbush, Ruby Saltbush, Running Saltbush, Creeping Saltbush (a creeper, oddly enough).
Saltbush is also very palatable to livestock such as sheep and goats, and gives them a delicate salty flavour known as "
pre-sale" by the French ("pre-salted"). Such salt-fed livestock is prized in Australia and across the world. There is significant potential in planting paddocks with saltbush to mitigate the increasing impacts of climate change.
Latin nameAtriplex spp., although ruby saltbush is Enchylaena tomentose

Eating


  • Salty leaf, some with a sharp/bitter flavour.
  • Can be used both fresh and dried.
  • Very tasty deep-fried and added to dishes for texture and flavour.
  • Some varieties are more tender than others – some can be very tough when fresh and are better dried and used as a herb.
  • Very good dried and used as a salty, herby spice for meats and savoury dishes.
  • The seeds are also edible, and can be added to baked dishes such as breads, cakes or biscuits.

Growing


  • There are many varieties of saltbush, and most are edible to humans.
  • In general, saltbushes are very hardy and grow well in all climates and soils.
  • Some plants can grow very large and tough.
  • The taller plants hedge very well, such as “Old Man Saltbush”.
  • Poultry eat some saltbushes but not all.
  • Livestock do very well on most saltbushes and it can flavour the meat.

Harvesting and storage


  • Use both whole and ground leaves, both fresh and dried.
  • Leaves dry best in a cool, well-aired location. Keep out of direct sun or heat for the best result.
  • If harvesting your own plant, try keeping leaves on pruned branches and placing in a vase with no water. Ensure good airflow around the stems and leaves to prevent mould.
  • The result looks wonderful, and will give out a subtle scent over the next week or so as it gently dries.
  • Leaves can also be dried at low heat in a dehydrator.
  • Leaves can then be easily stripped off the stems and placed in an airtight container for storage.
  • Whole leaves will keep their savour for a good 12 months, if need be.
  • Grind by hand or in a high-powered blender and store in an airtight container.
  • Ground leaves will retain the best scent for about three months.