Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Salty Bounty of Our Bay {October #Unprocessed}

I don't know about you, but "salt" and "processed" are inextricably linked in my mind. But a few months ago Bob Kirkland invited me to visit Monterey Bay Salt Company's salt house at The Carmel Valley Ranch...to see how he harvests salt from the waters of our Bay. And I realized that salt, made like this, is just about as pure as it gets.

Sea Water + Sun + Wind = Sea Salt

To extract the salt, Bob heads out about a mile into the deeper waters of the Bay. Using a deep siphon, he draws water from a hundred feet down in the water column, where the water is pure and fresh.

Water is placed into troughs in the salt houses where the sea water evaporates naturally from the heat of the sun and the drying effects of the wind blowing through the structures. As water begins to evaporate the salt begins to take shape. Over a period of time, salt crystals float on the pool surface.

The first salt formed is a flaky, flat Fleur de Sel.

Once the Fleur de Sel is harvested, the remaining salt drops to the bottom of the pool. The heavier crystals form uniquely shaped cubes. And the different colors of the salt are due to the mineral traces in the sea water.

Bob offers many different salt-spice blends! He has a unique Coffee Salt that I enjoy rubbing on beef just before grilling. But I recently became enamored with his California Sunshine Citrus Blend, an alluring mixture of orange, lemon, lime zest with rose hips, black pepper and hibiscus flowers. For any purists out there, stick with the original sea salt. 

Whatever you choose, this salt is completely unprocessed, is locally sourced, contains no additives, and has virtually no carbon footprint. It's truly the salt of the earth...the bounty of our bay. And it's fantastic!

And while he's local to me, he's certainly not the only person doing this. He learned from a salt operation in Maine and has another location in Florida. So, wherever you happen to live, take a look for foraged salt.

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