How-to Make Sea Salt

Make-your-own-Sea-Salt

Cook Time: 6-8 hours (give or take depending how much water you have)
Yield: 1/2 to 2 cups of sea salt (depends on how much water you collect)
Recipe inspired by: One baker’s random culinary musings in the middle of the night!

Have you ever waken up in the middle of the night with one of those insane foodie projects which excites every fiber of your being? I seem to come up with one about every two to three weeks. These random musings are what sparked the Banana Split Cupcakes a few weeks ago and were the impetus of the forthcoming milk chocolate salted caramel raviolis you’ll see next week. About a month ago, I came up with the idea to make my own sea salt. Sure, I’ve heard rumors of others doing it but never thought to do it myself.

It really seems like this should have been a no brainer since I’ve been to the Pacific Ocean several hundred times in my life. But as it turns out, the rumors were entirely true. You can make your own sea salt and it is a surprisingly easy project for anyone to pull off…assuming you live close to a non-polluted natural source of salt water. Living in Oregon, the Pacific Ocean was the perfect target for this project.

Now, I’m a firm believer in doing things big if you’re going to do them at all. That’s partially why we usually have gallons of soup and extra loaves of bread hanging out in the freezer. So when I decided to make sea salt, I wanted to make sure I collected enough water to make it worthwhile. After collecting 6 empty milk jugs we trudged faithfully to the coast on our quest for seafood and salt water.

To make your own sea salt, all you have to do is collect your salt water and strain it through cheese cloth or a fine sieve (or both). Then it’s just a matter of boiling the water to your hearts content. Technically, you could make sea salt by pouring the water into shallow pans and leaving them outside for the sun to evaporate all the water. But who has the time for that. And if you live in the Pacific Northwest, who has the sun for that? Thus, we settled on boiling the water indoors.

The boiling time varies depending how much water you collect. I would plan on about spending 1-1/2 to 2 hours per gallon of water. We boiled our water down in just under 8 hours. Once harvested, you can bask in the beauty of great tasting sea salt which took almost no effort to produce. Our efforts produced about 6 cups of salt…which is way more than I expected.

Ingredients:

1 or more gallons of salt water
A pot large enough to boil the salt water

Directions for Making your Own Sea Salt:


Make your own sea salt

After collecting your salt water, the first thing to do is to strain it through cheese cloth or a fine sieve. I chose both to really make sure any sand or small bits of debris got filtered out of the salt water.

Make your own sea salt 2

After sifting, you’ll want to choose a good sized pot for boiling your water. Since I had 6 gallons of water, I used our large canning pot. Boil your salt water continuously until about 90% of the original water has been evaporated. Occasionally stir the water to make sure none of the salt scorches on the bottom of the pan. The nice thing about choosing the stove top boiling method is the heat will kill any bacteria which may be catching a ride in your salt water.

Make your own sea salt 3

When the majority of the water has evaporated, pour the the salt water into a shallow baking pan to prevent the salt from scorching. The salt water should have the consistency of wet sand at this point. Leave the pan uncovered at room temperature for 3-5 days, stirring it occasionally. The remaining water in the pan will evaporate over time.

Make your own sea salt 4

Once the water evaporates and the salt is fully dried you will have a nice batch of freshly made sea salt. The salt won’t be like the pelleted sea salt sold in fancy stores. It will be more flaky and similar to kosher salt. Be sure to store the salt in an airtight container so it doesn’t pick up any other smells or flavors while hanging out in the spice cabinet.

26 thoughts on “How-to Make Sea Salt

  1. Pingback: How to make sea Salt | Survival 101

  2. Can’t wait to try this out as I live on the coast. Be good if there was something you could use to test the water quality before you start the process. Thanks for the tips. Great website.

  3. I have a sailboat and found your website curious howw to make salt from seawater for fish I catch while offshore.
    I would think if you set up a still with a condensor you could make distilled water as the salt was cooking down. Also useful for making stove alcohol onboard.

  4. You might want to look up the water pollution in your area, air pollution, and most importantly understand that ocean water and some sea waters are high in methylmercury which can cause serious damage to the central nervous system including your brain.

    This site explains it’s best not to consume salt from ocean water because it is likely high in methylmercury http://www.livestrong.com/article/492830-will-mercury-in-sea-salt-harm-health/

    “Don’t try to harvest sea salt from public beaches or beaches that are contaminated by chemical runoff or offshore petroleum drilling.”
    Read more: How to Harvest Sea Salt | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2125319_harvest-sea-salt.html#ixzz1n8x9CvmN

    This very scary image of water pollution:
    http://tommytoy.typepad.com/.a/6a0133f3a4072c970b014e86bae56c970d-550wi

    and this of air pollution:
    http://drschweitzer.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/nasa_-_new_map_offers_a_global_view_of_health-sapping_air_pollution.jpg

    Before everyone runs to their local beach to make their own sea salt, please inform them of the dangers!!!!

    • Thanks for the informative links about collecting sea water. At first I thought them as quite a buzz kill but then I read them and they have very little weight in regards to making salt, but rather are about eating seafood. Mercury is a heavy metal eaten by bottom feeders who are in turn eaten by fish then bigger fish then bigger fish on up the food chain to us at the top of the pyramid. It is sad really and quite a buzz kill for a night out at the sushi bar but not so bad for collecting sea water and boiling the $&@& out of it and collecting salt! Thanks anyway

  5. Hi Brian,
    awesome post and concept.
    I saw @travelfish tweet this page of your blog and I was so impressed that I gave it a try in our kitchen at work.
    It’s a real point of difference and we took it a step further and infused some with local & classic flavours.
    We now offer smoked salt (hot smoked over coconut husks), Shiraz & rosemary salt, Kaffir lime & lemongrass salt and a toasted prickly ash salt.
    And the natural salt flakes as well.
    Kudos and thanks for the great idea, concept, the instructions and a great blog.
    PS – we used a porcelain chaffing dish to do the last step – worked a treat.

    • That’s great to hear! Thank you for the feedback. I am happy to hear the idea worked so well for you. I never thought of making flavored salts using this technique.

    • Great! I never considered using a glass evaporating container. That sounds interesting. Happy salt making!

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    • i am interested in making sea salt because it can create a lot of income in my place and also away i just need the procedure and time on how to make the sea salt

      thanks

      Yours faithfully
      Endurance dagogo

    • I’m no scientist but this is a similar process to deslinating salt water so I guess you could. Boiling salt water was also a common way to create fresh drinking water on sailing ships. In short…I bet you could but didn’t try it.

  11. This is just what I was looking for! Do you have any concerns about the fuel and chemicals dumped in seawater from boats and ships? I live south of Boston and I think the ocean water near the shore will be pretty polluted.

    • Hi Phyllis,

      It was definitely a concern for us but we live near the central Oregon coast which is not nearly as polluted as some other waterways in the country. I went pretty far down the beach away from any parking lots or building run offs and waited until well after a storm had passed before collecting the water. If you can find a nice source of sea water this is truly a great project. The fresh salt is full of flavor! Happy baking!

  12. Oh how fun! I’m tempted to bung the kids in the car and drive out to the coast (3 hours) to get some salt water. Only problem is I’m not sure how clean it is off the UK’s beaches – might have to rent a boat to get out into deep water. On second thought maybe I’ll just wait until we’re on the Pacific this summer…

    • Yeah, I was a little worried about getting clean water too but ultimately just decided to find a nice bit of beach that was pretty far away from parking lots, storm drains and anything else which could cause problems.

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