HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Anyone making their own salt?

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. 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

      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

        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

          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!)

      2. 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. 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. 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. 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

                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

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

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ricepad

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

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Novelli

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

                    2. 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

                        Ugh. I could have done without that mental image.

                        1. re: suzigirl

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

                            1. re: LotusRapper

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

                              1. re: porker

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

                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  Exactly. I'm focusing on her pots.

                                  And pans.

                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                    The ones she uses for those melon recipes. right?

                          1. re: greygarious

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

                          2. 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

                              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

                                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?

                                http://metronews.ca/news/victoria/300...

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

                                1. re: MsMaryMc

                                  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

                                    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

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

                              2. http://www.seasidemuseum.org/lewiscla...
                                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. 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

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_...
                                    "The process also results in an amount of salty briny waste."

                                  2. 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

                                        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.

                                      2. 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

                                          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

                                            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.

                                            http://www.montereybaysaltco.com/MBSa...
                                            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.

                                            http://www.abalonefarm.com/videos.php
                                            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

                                              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."

                                              http://www.cargill.com/corporate-resp...

                                          2. 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

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

                                              1. re: tcamp

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

                                            2. 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

                                                Howard Hughes used his urine as condiment.

                                                1. re: porker

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

                                              2. http://video.pbs.org/video/2365126222/
                                                Mind of a Chef episode with April Bloomfield on 'salt'. Includes visit to http://jacobsensalt.com/ in Oregon

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

                                                  http://www.markkurlansky.com/books/ot...