A Natural Refined Taste
Sea salt is more refined than standard table salt. Though both salts mainly contain sodium chloride, sea salt actually has a more refined composition. In addition to sodium chloride it includes various other minerals and even trace elements as well. These give sea salt its special flavor and texture. For this reason sea salt is sometimes known as fine sea salt and coarse sea salt.
A natural consequence of the sea water harvesting, fine sea salt consists of a high concentration of magnesium, iron, manganese as well as calcium. The harvesting in the ocean itself also adds to these levels of magnesium, Iron and Calcium. It is important for the fine salt crystals to be harvested in the open sea because this guarantees that they are exposed to the sun’s rays for the maximum period of time – about 70 % of the total time that they are exposed to the sea water. This enables them to dissolve easily.
The harvesting of fine sea salt is not only necessary as it gives it a distinctive taste and texture but also ensures its durability and does not become soft after being stored in the salty sea water for a long time. This is one of the reasons why table salts so often lose their original fine texture as soon as they are stored for some time. Fine sea salt is harvested using a process which is very similar to that of fossilized salt.
First the fine salt crystals are broken down into fine grains according to their size. As each grain is ground, it leaves behind a behind which is in the form of a crystal. These crystals are then collected by using a device known as sea salt grinder. Grinding is carried out manually using manual machines or electrically by using a special shredder. This is a very labour-intensive process and is part of the fine sea salt manufacturing process.
There are two main types of fine sea salts which are unrefined sea salts and refined sea salts. Refined sea salts include those that have been processed to remove any impurities such as sulfur and manganese that can cause the salt to lose its original flavor and natural texture. On the other hand, unrefined sea salts include those that undergo a traditional milling process that grinds all of the salt particles to a fine powder. During the process the original minerals such as magnesium, calcium and sodium are left behind, however these substances are essential to the production of healthy cells. The fine powder is then further processed even more, until it reaches the final product that is ready for use.
A number of different methods are used to manufacture coarse sea salt. In general, sea salt that is manufactured using traditional methods is often much darker than other varieties available on the market. However, this darkening process does not last long enough to inhibit the essential elements found in fine sea salt such as sodium chloride from being absorbed into our bodies. This fact has lead to many table salt manufacturers switching their products over to the much lighter alternative sodium chloride. This switch is partly due to the fact that fine sea salt contains around twice the amount of sodium chloride that table salt does.
Fine sea salt contains crystals that are formed from the fine powder. This fine crystal is then cooked in an oven at a temperature of around 150 degrees Celsius and the crystals release their volatile oil, which produces the rich flavor of the sea salt. The oil has a complex aroma that is very aromatic and delicious. This complex flavor can be further enhanced by the addition of a few drops of rose water or lavender essential oil to the dish that is served with the coarse crystals.
Salt crystals are usually harvested by a process called ‘salt tumbling’. This involves slowly crushing the fine crystals to produce a fine dust which is then slowly ground up into a fine dust again. This process is believed to create a higher concentration of minerals in the salt than would be possible if the salt were harvested coarse. Fine sea salt is then often blended with other minerals to provide a balanced flavor.