The difference between table salt and sea salt is that table salt generally comes from rock salt, which is extracted from mineral deposits. Sea salt is the result of a seawater crystallization process and, to maximize the collection process, traditional salt flats are divided into two parts: evaporation and crystallization ponds. Starting at the spring, the sea water flows into the Salina (salt gardens). The water passes through the evaporation zone, the larger of the two, in which solar energy is used to evaporate 80% of the process water. From there the water flows to the crystallization zone where the salt precipitates.
The first salt under the “microscope” is Portuguese pure white sea salt. The salt flats found along the beautiful Algarve coastline in southern Portugal were designed by the Romans. The facility we visited is located on the outskirts of the small town of Belamandil. It is a great example of how this tradition came to life.
In historical times, sea salt was used to preserve foods such as salted cod, herring, etc. it became a vital part of the trade between the countries of southern and northern Europe. The importance of salt was so great that the Portuguese recovered Brazil, then occupied by the Dutch, exchanging it for salt.
Unlike industrial salt flats, the saline solution of traditional salt flats reaches the crystallization area at about 150 g / l and never goes away; in May, the salt content has risen to 250 g / l and the salt begins to accumulate. This allows macro and trace elements that crystallize between 170 g / l and 250 g / l to form, including magnesium salts that crystallize after sodium chloride. This is similar to the aging process of wine or any other food that improves over time.
It contains more than 75 minerals and trace elements that give salt its unique flavor and aroma. Medical science has known for many years that these minerals are necessary for optimal body function. Sea salt is a good alternative to artificial mineral supplements.
The seed crystals that form every day on the warm surface of the salt crystallization ponds will become the Flor de Sel (salt flowers). Using a large spoon-shaped cloth filter, workers gently collect a thin layer of salt that floats on the water. This used to be collected by the workers of the saline for domestic consumption, and they called it “the cream of salt”, since it is collected from the surface of the pan, like the cream floating on the milk.
Fleur de Sel (Flor do Sal in Portuguese) has a bouquet that naturally brings out the flavors of food, making it the ideal product for the most demanding gourmets. Use Fleur de Sel in simple things like salads, fried eggs, French fries, and adding Fleur de Sel after grilling makes the meat softer, juicier, and flavorful.
Number 2 we are investigating is Fleur de Sel de Guerande sea salt. An all-natural sea salt from Brittany, France. This particular fleur de sel is harvested by hand in the town of Guerande between May and September. We visited Guérande at the end of July. It is the perfect place for a relaxing vacation.
The rugged part of France that faces the Atlantic is not spoiled by tourists. The coastline is simply beautiful – huge rock formations pile up everywhere, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the magnificent view of the ocean. If you like food and travel, this is a place you will never forget due to the charming seaside towns with charming little restaurants serving local food and fish.
The Guerande salt fields are long and narrow. A so-called ‘paludier artesanal’ (salt collector) sweeps the upper part of the seawater that evaporates to collect the salt. It is rich in trace elements, the flavor is the complex balance of the sea and its minerals, the texture is that of small flaky crystals of a slightly gray / pink color. Like the Portuguese fleur de sel, this sea salt is typically used to finish a dish, as a condiment, rather than as a spice.
Number 3 is Hawaiian Red Sea Salt
Where does the reddish tint come from? The reason is that during the harvesting process’ Alaea is added to the salt. This gives a slight orange / brown tint to the salt, which is completely tasteless and does not smell either. By adding ‘Alaea, you significantly increase the health benefits of this salt. ‘Alaea is made up of more than 80 different minerals that are not provided by other salts.
In ancient Hawaii, on the island of what is now Kauai, red volcanic clay called Alaea “encountered” sea salt when, during heavy rains, red clay sediment leaked into the ocean from Kauai’s rivers. . When this red ocean water was trapped in tidal pools, evaporation created Hawaiian Red Alaea sea salt.
According to Hawaiians, Alaea sea salt tastes much better than any white salt, including ‘Fleur De Sel’ from France or Portugal, but after testing at home, I decided that I like all three sea salts. The taste of all three is different, and this is what I do with them:
– Salads, sauces, white fish, vegetables, fried eggs – Hawaiian or Portuguese sea salt
– Steak, grilled dishes such as chicken, ribs, French fries – Guerande sea salt
– Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring – – Guerande or Portuguese sea salt
So try it for yourself and let me know what you think.