As a sailor, sea salt is almost an annoyance. A lot of effort has been made to figure out how to desalinate salt water for drinking at sea and some boats carry a special system for this. When I race on a sailboat during the summer, I get wet and my clothes dry with salt crystals on them. I measure how wild the sea is by the salty taste on my lips or even salt drying inside my ears. But as a Chef, I believe that salt is an essential ingredient for getting food to taste its best. Rather than tasting salty, salt will bring out the flavor in food, particularly summer tomatoes and other vegetables. Don’t be afraid to use salt. Sea salt is full of minerals that are very good for you. Just don’t overdo it.
On a cruising adventure in the Sea of Cortez last year with some friends, we encountered a couple salt beds on the most beautiful island you can imagine, Isla San Francisco.
We were intrigued, so we gathered the salt in some Ziploc bags and took them home.
We were like kids on a science field trip, literally out in the middle of a land surrounded by no one, but the four of us.
It seemed weird that we could gather salt along some barren land next to the sand, and that it would be edible. For many people, if food doesn’t come in a package, on a foam tray or a vegetable garden with neat rows, it cannot be trusted. They are not willing to take a chance. Will I die if I eat it? We were definitely suspect, but then you realize that this is where food comes from – nature – not a package. and then you realize, how cool is that? Just like the peppercorns I gather as they fall from my neighbor’s tree. This is the food that people pay big money for at a gourmet store.
Fast forward a year and I finally decided to package the salt we harvested that had gotten buried in my cabinet. Look at how beautiful it is. I placed it on a baking sheet in the sun to dry it out and then I decided to spin it into coarse grains in my Cuisinart.
What was interesting was opening the cover of the food processor and getting the first whiff of the scent that was released from cutting the salt crystals. You could smell the minerals from the earth. Not what you smell when opening a carton of Morton’s!
The salt was heavy, as I funneled it into containers. It tasted exotic, fresh and less salty than even kosher salt. This was a really fun project. Very satisfying and feeling like an earth woman. I’m ready to sprinkle it on everything coming out of my kitchen, with some restraint, of course.
My very own Sea Salt from the Sea of Cortez, placed in recycled bottles. My salt was free. I’m sure the one in the original bottle was about $10.
How much Sea Salt is right for you?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, which is about one teaspoon of table salt, more of kosher or sea salt, which for the same measurement, typically weighs less. A look at the Mayo Clinic website points that your body needs some sodium to function properly to help maintain the right balance of fluids in your body, help transmit nerve impulses, and influence the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. For more information about how much sodium is right for you, read more about this subject. Two steps that the Mayo Clinic website suggests is to eat more fresh foods and to use herbs, spices and natural flavorings like citrus to add flavor to your food. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS, which contain more salt than you bargained for. That means cook more Fresh Food in a Flash recipes. That way you control the amount of salt in your diet, just don’t leave it out completely. Adding salt and other flavor enhancers like herbs and spices will make your food taste so good, you won’t want to eat anything but fresh, which will go a long way to a healthier diet and a healthier you.