Creating sea salt from ocean water is an ancient practice almost completely lost to us today. In the foodie bible The 100-Mile Diet, the very last food the authors found locally after a year of eating regionally, was a bag of pure sea salt from the Pacific Northwest oceans.
If like most humans you live close to one of the planet’s seven seas, you can participate in this ancient craft. It starts off with a 5 gallon bucket.
Making Sea Salt in a Nutshell
Once you’ve got your 5 gallons of pure seawater, you’ll need about a full day to process it and several more for the final drying.
After you filter it through a basic cloth dishcloth, you need to boil it down. At first you want to use the highest heat your stove is capable of. Once you’ve cut your 5 gallons of liquid roughly in half, you’ll want to gradually turn your burner lower and lower to prevent your salt from scorching. The more you boil your salt down, the more you’ll want to stir it.
Once your salt is the consistency of wet sand, let it air dry in shallow pans. To speed air drying up, you can turn your oven to the lowest temperature setting and keep your salt pans in there. This final drying stage can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how much water is left in your salt and how much surface area is open to the air.
Storing your Sea Salt
Your final salt product can be stored in mason jars, salt shakers, or a bucket if you’ve gone all the way with your salt production. With five gallons of seawater, you can produce 3.5 pounds of salt. With this much salt, you may be best off getting your own cute little salt container for in the kitchen.
More on Making Sea Salt
This tutorial is a summary of the excellent How to Make Sea Salt published by Ben Fahrer on Instructables. If you’re interested in making your own sea salt, visit his article for much more detail into the sea salt process and pictures of every step.
The pictures shown here are also courtesy of his article.