The Crystal Content and Texture of Sea Salt
Sea salt is sea salt that has been extracted from brackish or seawater. It is normally used for seasoning foods, cooking, baking, cosmetics and even for preserving food. It’s also known as black salt, red salt, rock salt or just plain salt. The most well-known types are kosher salt and table salt. Salt is made by evaporation and industrial processes that separate the salt from the water.
Evaporated sea salt is salt that has evaporated from seawater into the atmosphere. There are two types – wet and dry. The former is harvested by pumping steam into the salt deposits and then filtering it out of the air and into vats. The latter has no evaporation process and is mined by truck-loads and transported to salt mines around the world. As far as processing goes, both types have undergone modern techniques.
Salt is basically a combination of minerals and salt crystals suspended in seawater. There are two different ways to add minerals to sea salt – through the addition of sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate. Sodium chloride is the salt of choice for industrial uses and commercial markets, but sodium bicarbonate is more suitable for home use because it does not produce harmful side effects like the former. When minerals dissolved in seawater are exposed to light, they change to sulfates, which can be processed and used as soil fertilizers.
So how do you get naturally-occurring sea salt with fewer sodium ions? For the most part, it’s difficult. Although there are many places on Earth that still have naturally occurring seawater, their levels of sodium have usually diminished significantly. The places where sodium deposits are abundant include coastal areas in the Pacific Ocean and the Dead Sea, and they are also widespread in salt mines around the world.
Evaporating seawater contains enormous amounts of heat, and so it is used in the production of several different products. The processes used to transform seawater into table salt vary depending on what type of minerals are being added. In general, one of the most common forms of evaporated sea salt is sodium chloride, which is processed using pressurized steam to yield sodium chloride. This product can then be used in a wide variety of baking and cooking applications. It has recently become popular as an alternative sports drink, but it remains largely untapped terrain for companies hoping to profit from the natural resource.
Another source of natural sea salt is humic acid, which is commonly produced through the breakdown of animal bones. This is often used as fertilizer, and is a key component of many household cleaners. One of the reasons many people believe that natural sea salt and table salt are different is because sea salt has a much higher melting point than table salt. Because it dissolves easily in water, this is why it’s frequently used as a natural source of nourishment for the body.
But evaporation isn’t the only way sea salt and table salt differ. As sea water evaporates, many of its dissolved solids are swept away with it. The minerals that remain are separated from one another by strong forces, like collisions, waves and pressure. While some of the minerals remain and crystallize into salt form, others are washed away into the sea and replaced by new materials.
In order to have the minerals from sea salt removed from the surface and sent to be processed, it must undergo a number of different stages of crystallization. At each stage, the crystal forms take on a unique shape, usually longer than the crystal points, and eventually each crystal will begin to dissolve entirely. While sea salt does not lose its mineral properties when it is processed, each process of crystallization can affect the taste, color, texture and overall quality of the salt. Due to the nature of mineral processing, the process of sea salt and table salt differs and there are many differences between the two that are worth considering when choosing a salt for your culinary needs.