Buying sea salt can be expensive, and there are so many different varieties to choose from. But what if you could just make your own at home and you can cross sea salt off your shopping list forever?
Since there have been some very hot days, many of us have been spending time at the beach. Although it’s the ultimate spot to catch some sun, it’s also an untapped resource for tasty seasonings that you can cover your veggies and proteins in at home. DIY salt sound intimidating, but it’s actually not that difficult.
Salt has unique flavors based on where it’s harvested. From Massachusetts to Hawaii, the essence of every saltwater can be distilled into delicious salt. It’s flavored by the blend of plants, marine animals, and geology that all merge underwater. Climate and seasons can also affect the taste of different salts.
And while you might not have exotic sources near you, there’s probably some precious local or nearby oasis just waiting to be discovered.
Where do I get my seawater?
Unfortunately, not all of us live right next to an ocean, although that would be idea for more reasons that one. Find an unpolluted source of salt water. Nowhere near a sewage plant! Urban salt is not ideal.
If you do live in the city, try to take a road trip out where there are more pristine sources and clearer water. If on a beach, wade out as far as possible, so that sunscreen, sand, and other gross debris don’t turn up.
Use buckets, milk jugs, or coolers depending on the size of the batch you’re looking to make.
Bringing it to the kitchen
Follow this rule: a gallon of water can create a 1/2 cup to full cup of salt, but this will vary based on how salty your water is.
Step 1: Let water sit for several days in a cool area. If you don’t have time to do this, filter your seawater through multiple layers of cheesecloth. Just be aware that some salt will be lost in this method.
Step 2: Now comes the time to extract the salt. Heat this water on the stove, letting it evaporate very slowly. Heat as low as possible, since boiling the water too high will burn your salt.
Using a plastic tube, siphon water into the pot, and let an inch of water remain. This will stop sediment from being disturbed. It could be a matter of hours or days until it cooks down into salt. Make sure to take off the stove when an inch of water is left.
Step 3: Drying takes the longest in this process, and is broken into multiple steps. Place your thick reduction (which should look similar to wet sand) in a shallow baking pan, in a sunny, insect-free area. Screened porch or large window is perfect. If you don’t have access to those and can’t air-dry naturally in the sun, put the pans in the oven on the lowest heat possible.
Step 4: Evaporate remaining moisture by hanging in cloth bag. If you heat it, the flavor won’t be as pure. Then, voila! You have salt. Grind it however you want and store it in a spice jar or mason jar.
Flavoring your salt:
You can mix herbs or spices into your salt to make a flavored salt, or seasoning salts, as some refer to them. These are useful to add into foods at home, but also make a thoughtful DIY gift.
Use 1 teaspoon of flavoring for every 1/4 cup of salt. You can pulse it in food processor, blender, or coffee grinder, but can also and with hands or grinding with a mortar and pestle. If you have fresh herbs, dry them in the oven beforehand.
Flavorings you can use:
Lime zest with chilli
Celery seeds or leaves