Make Your Own Salt

Homespun Salt

Homespun Salt

I don’t think I’d do half the culinary experiments I do if B wasn’t all together so damn supportive. And by supportive, I mean that he has the same ridiculous ideas I do, but knows that he can convince me to do them so he doesn’t have to. Which would be how we found ourselves on the shores of Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula with two growlers full of salt water.

We had been watching Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, a fantastic show, which you can watch online at the Gourmet website. It was all about sea salt and Sichuan peppercorns. Holy food porn up my alley, Batman, ya know? I was drooling. Part of it was a story on a guy who made his own salt from ocean water at his pub in England. They showed him down at the water, with a bucket full of water, walked you through the process of making it. I looked across the couch to B. We had to be on the peninsula the next day anyways…Wheels turning, ideas forming…Sure enough, the growlers were packed for the next morning.

How does it taste? Well, I’ll be honest, it tastes like salt. It is not crystals of salt, like what they sell in stores as “sea salt,” its more like little flakes. I would say that it is better than your average kosher salt, but not quite as good as the branded “sea salt” you can buy. However, given that it was free, required almost no work at all and will impress all your friends, I would reccomend this method highly.

How to Make Salt from Sea Water

Get your salt water: we used one gallon (two growlers) and came up with one spice canister full of salt.

Strain the saltwater–we used three layers of cheesecloth to make sure that nothing got through, into a large pot. Bring it to a boil and just let it boil away, evaporating all the water. Towards the end, we found that it was getting very splattery and messy, so we took it off the stove and spread the salt on a silpat and left it in the sun for a day. Technically, you can just let it boil til all the water is gone, but, if like us, you have a small pot and it is getting salt everywhere, the sun drying method works well for the last bit–it was already nearly evaporated, like a thick paste texture.

Comments

  1. Awesome! I was just reading in On Food And Cooking about how the various kinds of salt are produced, but I never thought to go make my own. Might gotta try that. I think you would get different kinds of flakiness depending on how slowly you let the evaporation happen, how much surface area is exposed, and how much it is agitated.

  2. I was doing some research for making my own salt and I shouldn’t have been going all over the place. Just check out another Seattle blogger’s site. Thanks for the information!

    Eric

  3. This is a great idea and I’ve just recently been reading about Stephen Harris’ pub in Seasalter. This would be a great thing to do with some Mediterranean sea water, I might wait until I go somewhere outside of Barcelona though, not sure I really want the salt from the port water as a seasoning.

    • thegastrognome says:

      Yes! The Seasalter was featured on an episode of Gourmet: Diary of a Foodie (I believe episodes are available online) not to long after I finished reading the book Salt, by Mark Kurlansky, I think? So those were the perfect storm for me to venture out. I also waited til I had an opportunity to be outside of the city area to do this–scary what could be in those port waters! Good luck, tell me how it goes!

  4. Don Kippan says:

    I am looking for a way to make my own salt. I don’t live close to the ocean so is there another way. Is there natural salt plants you can use in your diet. Hope to hear from someone.
    Thank You
    Don

  5. John Lockef says:

    Or, take a good quality lye, and some hydrochloric acid, and react those two in a beaker.

  6. You might want to look up the water pollution in your area, air pollution, and most importantly understand that ocean water and some sea waters are high in methylmercury which can cause serious damage to the central nervous system including your brain.

    This site explains it’s best not to consume salt from ocean water because it is likely high in methylmercury http://www.livestrong.com/article/492830-will-mercury-in-sea-salt-harm-health/

    “Don’t try to harvest sea salt from public beaches or beaches that are contaminated by chemical runoff or offshore petroleum drilling.”
    Read more: How to Harvest Sea Salt | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2125319_harvest-sea-salt.html#ixzz1n8x9CvmN

    This very scary image of water pollution:
    http://tommytoy.typepad.com/.a/6a0133f3a4072c970b014e86bae56c970d-550wi

    and this of air pollution:
    http://drschweitzer.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/nasa_-_new_map_offers_a_global_view_of_health-sapping_air_pollution.jpg

    Before everyone runs to their local beach to make their own sea salt, please inform them of the dangers!!!!

  7. The trick is to boil the salt water until it has reduced by 3/4 then slowly heat the brine so that it evaporates slowly. As the salt crystals form they fall to the bottom. You should scoop the salt crystals from the bottom of the pan during this process. If you simply boil the water until you are left with ‘salt’ you will find the taste is bitter. This is due to the salt being tainted by impurities such as calcium and mercury

  8. i live only 5 miles from seasalter and have been tempted to make my own salt but we used to have a dog who liked to swim in the sea in the summer and drink it, he died riddled with large cancerous lumps only at age 9. he wasnt exposed to anything else that could have caused that during his life so i always suspected it could have been from drinking the sea. i wouldnt trust the way he makes seasalt knowing it can be contaminated with heavy metals etc.

    nath is right about the bitterness, that method of scooping the crystals is the one used commercially, i saw it on tv at a cornish seasalt plant.

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