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Anyone making their own salt?

Puffin3 Nov 5, 2013 09:07 AM

We are fortunate to have the pristine Pacific ocean nearby.
We collect sea water from Port Renfrew BC. About as pure sea water as possible.
We strain the water through a coffee filter. Then into a large SS pot. We do 12 cups at a time. Simmer away for a couple of hours until all that's left is sea salt. Twelve cups of sea water yields about 128 grams of salt. It has quite a 'salty' taste and a subtle smell of the sea. A small pinch goes a long way.
Do any of you make your own sea salt? Do you add anything to add flavor? If so what?

  1. Kris in Beijing Dec 8, 2013 05:57 PM

    And since this thread has shifted some from ~Making~ salt, don't forget the fantastic Kurlansky book SALT: A World History


    1. paulj Dec 7, 2013 11:29 PM

      Mind of a Chef episode with April Bloomfield on 'salt'. Includes visit to http://jacobsensalt.com/ in Oregon

      1. b
        brokentelephone Nov 18, 2013 03:46 PM

        I have hyperhidrosis so regularly collect my sweat and make salt. It is literally my body's perfect flavour profile.

        3 Replies
        1. re: brokentelephone
          porker Nov 18, 2013 03:50 PM

          Howard Hughes used his urine as condiment.

          1. re: porker
            hill food Nov 18, 2013 06:14 PM

            makes you wonder if he utilized any other 'personal fluids' as such.

            1. re: hill food
              LotusRapper Nov 18, 2013 09:16 PM


        2. hill food Nov 18, 2013 02:04 AM

          a most amusing thread. the LA harbor salt is to be observed as quite different from the nearby Long Beach salt. Florida salt depends greatly on the coast (Gulf or Atlantic) and where on the peninsula it's gathered. while considered an acquired taste, that which is culled from the inland sea in Utah is in some circles quite treasured.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hill food
            tcamp Nov 18, 2013 07:04 AM

            I'm going to ask for Bonneville finishing salt in my stocking from Santa.

            1. re: tcamp
              LotusRapper Nov 18, 2013 11:01 AM

              Sprinkle some of that on your car, it'll make it go faasssst ! :-)

          2. t
            theotherdikcheney Nov 16, 2013 11:56 AM

            anything that laps up to any shoreline in the US is contaminated with any number of things. From petrochemicals to sewage effluence. I wouldn't think of spreading it on food. Oh, and the Fukushima crap is on its way to our coast.

            3 Replies
            1. re: theotherdikcheney
              Antilope Nov 16, 2013 12:02 PM

              I use to live in San Jose at the south end of San Francisco Bay. There are large salt ponds along the shore where the bay is dammed off from the pond and the water is allowed to evaporate in the tidal pond. After a few years of evaporation, bulldozers then push the salt into large piles for collection. This all takes place a few miles from where the San Jose Water Treatment (Sewage) Plant discharges its treated water into the bay. No thanks.

              1. re: Antilope
                paulj Nov 16, 2013 12:21 PM

                But along much of the California coast, there is an upwelling of cold deep ocean water. That's part of why San Francisco is cool and foggy.

                Monterey Bay Salt Co. claims their source and salt is clean. I recall from some TV segment, that they actually collect the water some miles off shore, presumably taking advantage of the upwelling.

                The Abalone Farm, further down the coast, claims their water is among the purest.

                I suspect that most, if not all, of the San Francisco Bay salt production goes to industrial and non-food uses.

                If I were to worry about 'contamination' of the source water, I'd worry more about salt from the Mediterranean than the California or British Columbia coast. But I have 3 containers of Sicilain sea salt.

                I'd also worry about eating filter feeders - i.e. most shell fish.

                1. re: Antilope
                  seamunky Nov 18, 2013 01:28 AM

                  Do you use Diamond Crystal? Those salt ponds are owned and operated by Cargill who makes Diamond Crystal salt. Of course, they make many other products too from those salt ponds including road salt.

                  Here's how it's done:

                  "An even purer salt, made for home use and many commercial food producers, is called evaporated salt, which is refined through our vacuum evaporation process. To achieve 99.9% purity, we start the salt-making process all over again: dissolving salt in large tanks of fresh water then passing the brine through vacuum evaporators to re-crystallize the salt.
                  San Francisco Bay Salt. Refinery. Refining for home use.After the salt re-crystallizes, it's dried and air-cooled. A series of vibrating screens segregates salt crystals into a range of sizes: from micro-powders used in butter and cheesemaking, to pickling and seasoning grinds, pretzel toppings and large crystals used in salt grinders. One final step remains in producing high quality salt, and that is packaging."


              2. Antilope Nov 15, 2013 09:59 PM

                When I was a kid we use to grow salt crystals on a string dipped in a jar of brine (or was that sugar crystals from a string dipped in a jar of syrup?) Oh well, that was a looooooong time ago. ;-)

                3 Replies
                1. re: Antilope
                  KailuaGirl Nov 15, 2013 11:16 PM

                  That was sugar crystals.

                  1. re: KailuaGirl
                    porker Nov 18, 2013 07:30 AM

                    Or was it sea monkeys?

                  2. re: Antilope
                    tcamp Nov 16, 2013 02:09 PM

                    Yep, definitely sugar crystals. My father was a chemist and showed me how to make colored sugar crystal which I sold to my friends as candy.

                  3. tcamp Nov 15, 2013 02:06 PM

                    On my drive home, I just heard a piece on NPR about typhoon rescue ops in the Phillipines. Aircraft carrier Geo Washington is there and capable of desalinating large quantities of water. I wonder, what happens to the salt? Is that artisinal?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tcamp
                      paulj Nov 15, 2013 02:52 PM

                      "The process also results in an amount of salty briny waste."

                    2. paulj Nov 15, 2013 01:19 PM

                      A description of the Lewis & Clark salt-works on the Oregon coast in the winter of 1805-6. 2 months, 5 brass kettles, wood fired, 3.5 bushels of salt, back breaking work.

                      1. g
                        gmr1 Nov 15, 2013 01:09 PM

                        This is all interesting, but ever think about all the container ships,curse ships etc... dumping their bathroom waste and ballast waters from other counties waters in your coastal waters. It's not good old Leave it to Beaver days. It's Heavy weight pollution that goes on everywhere. If you feel like being Mr. or Mrs. Natural. Try putting it in the microwave for a few seconds. You'd have a better chance or living longer. And really it's one of the last cheap things left in the stores. M.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: gmr1
                          Puffin3 Nov 16, 2013 06:52 AM

                          On the B.C coast these days any ship arriving from any country must have had all their tanks sealed with now electronic chips imbedded in the physical seals. If any seal has been tampered with the ship is not allowed to enter Canadian ports.
                          All dumping /flushing of waste tanks/ballast tanks must be done outside Canadian waters. Each ship is boarded by an inspector who inspects the tank seals etc.
                          IMO the 'Bad old days' were the Leave it to beaver days. Cargo ships got away with literal murder back then. Anything went. Dumping in Vancouver Harbour was common. That's when you could go fishing for ling cod under the Loins Gate bridge and catch fish with three eyes.
                          It was a regular occurrence for crewmen to have simply fallen overboard. Human smuggling was endemic and sometimes brought in more money for the ship's owner/s than the value of the cargo.

                          1. re: Puffin3
                            MsMaryMc Nov 17, 2013 10:07 PM

                            Um, yes...but isn't Victoria still dumping their raw, untreated sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, not all that far from you?


                            Some people would say the "bad old days" aren't quite over yet.

                            1. re: MsMaryMc
                              Puffin3 Nov 18, 2013 05:23 AM

                              True. But the 'outfall' is in the middle of the Strait off Victoria and we take water from near Port Renfrew. Still not 100% pristine. I do microwave the salt afterwards. Not sure if this is killing ever pathogen or not.

                              1. re: Puffin3
                                paulj Nov 18, 2013 08:31 AM

                                I can understand worrying about pathogens in solar evaporated salt, though gull poop is a more likely source than the humans. But isn't a concentrated brine solution toxic to most, if not all, microbes? But you are boiling your water. The resulting salt is safer than your drinking water.

                            2. re: Puffin3
                              porker Nov 18, 2013 07:17 AM

                              Over on the eat coast, the ships can't dump in the St. Lawrence system: balast tanks are too clogged with zebra mussels.

                          2. greygarious Nov 5, 2013 02:49 PM

                            I'd prefer not to think about the quintessential artisanal salt we get when we dine out, from the perspiration of the kitchen staffs toiling above our dishes.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: greygarious
                              suzigirl Nov 5, 2013 02:52 PM

                              Ugh. I could have done without that mental image.

                              1. re: suzigirl
                                LotusRapper Nov 5, 2013 04:01 PM

                                I'd tolerate it if Giada's in the kitchen .... ;-)

                                1. re: LotusRapper
                                  suzigirl Nov 5, 2013 04:04 PM

                                  So would my man.

                                  1. re: LotusRapper
                                    porker Nov 18, 2013 07:15 AM

                                    She certainly has the square footage in the forehead department...

                                    1. re: porker
                                      suzigirl Nov 18, 2013 10:12 AM

                                      They're not looking at her forehead. :-)

                                      1. re: suzigirl
                                        LotusRapper Nov 18, 2013 10:59 AM

                                        Exactly. I'm focusing on her pots.

                                        And pans.

                                        1. re: LotusRapper
                                          Dagney Nov 18, 2013 11:08 AM

                                          The ones she uses for those melon recipes. right?

                                2. re: greygarious
                                  Puffin3 Nov 6, 2013 05:00 AM

                                  Be happy if their sweat is all you get in your risotto.

                                3. n
                                  Novelli Nov 5, 2013 12:23 PM

                                  I live in the LA harbor. Not the cleanest water in the world LOL.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Novelli
                                    LotusRapper Nov 5, 2013 12:29 PM

                                    You can distil some pretty funky stuff there, I'm sure !

                                  2. r
                                    ricepad Nov 5, 2013 12:00 PM

                                    I just scrape my forehead after a long workout. Strange, tho...nobody else wants to use my salt.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ricepad
                                      NonnieMuss Nov 5, 2013 03:53 PM

                                      I see a future fortune to be made in Celebrity Sweat Salt. Off to the patent website...

                                    2. emglow101 Nov 5, 2013 11:17 AM

                                      I have years ago. I saw this on a cooking show. I don't remember wich one.Where sea water was boiled down into these beautiful flakes. Why not I thought. So I drove up the coast and collected a five gallon bucket full. Boiled it down and I was disapointed to find no flakes.I ended up with tiny grains of salt.I also put some water in a sheet pan and evaporated it in the sun.Still the same result.No flakes. As puffin said.Quite salty,and a small pinch goes a long way.Not quite what I wanted.Could have been doing it all wrong.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: emglow101
                                        Puffin3 Nov 5, 2013 12:16 PM

                                        There's a local dude who makes sea salt by boiling down sea water in big pots over wood fires. He's got quite a busy little business going.
                                        This year the Christmas gift for friends and family is going to be a few small containers of various 'flavored' sea salts each.
                                        I will be using a wood fire FYI.
                                        The plan is for a bunch of us to go 'winter camping' at Renfrew beach and make salt.

                                        1. re: emglow101
                                          Puffin3 Nov 5, 2013 12:18 PM

                                          The flakes are shaved off the salt pan after it's 99% dry.

                                        2. b
                                          BangorDin Nov 5, 2013 10:58 AM

                                          If I did, I would certainly try to get a smoke flavor into it somehow. I suppose just sitting it in a shallow pan in a smoker, however primitive, would do it. Does your salt come in flakes or grains?

                                          1. Veggo Nov 5, 2013 10:02 AM

                                            Interesting factoid: Bermuda was first settled to produce sea salt as a preservative, and some of its settlers were relocated to perform the same task on Providenciales in Turks & Caicos, BWI.
                                            Now, they use Mortons.

                                            1. t
                                              thimes Nov 5, 2013 09:51 AM

                                              I've actually wanted to but have never done it. My parents live on the Maine coast and for a while there was a commercial sea salt that was sourced from right where they live. So I figured hey - why not give it a try - but since I only go visit for relatively short periods I never thought I'd have time (I always assumed I'd let it sun dry instead of simmering). Maybe next summer.

                                              1. i
                                                INDIANRIVERFL Nov 5, 2013 09:17 AM

                                                I have on the boat. Using solar power. There is a reason why the vast majority of salt is mined.

                                                I learned the hard way not to use an aluminum roasting pan as my condenser as the resulting product was grey. Fun as an experiment, I find it easier to just spend 59 cents at the store. While technically my product is fleur de sel, I prefer mine from France.

                                                And did you compute your resulting carbon foot print?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                  Puffin3 Nov 5, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                  Point taken. Sort of like the 'carbon foot print/s' of those who drive their cars/SUVs forty miles each way to go to a restaurant LOL
                                                  I wonder what the carbon foot print is to get salt from France to LA?

                                                  1. re: Puffin3
                                                    LotusRapper Nov 5, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                    Hey at least you can say you're locavoring your salt, Puffin3 ! And the energy consumed by your stove came from BC Hydro and hence is "clean" :-)

                                                    1. re: Puffin3
                                                      piwakawaka Nov 6, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                      sorry to sound nasty, the carbon footprint to move salt from France to LA is almost certainly less than what you used to boil off the water.
                                                      Shipping is pretty low carbon, hydro power is relatively clean but still produces quite a bit of carbon.
                                                      Do it if it taste better but don't kid yourself that you're doing any good for the environment! (in much the same way that people who drive their suv to the farmers market to buy a bag of locally grown salad greens aren't doing anything positive for the environment either!)

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