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.
1 or more gallons of salt water
A pot large enough to boil the salt water
Directions for Making 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.
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.
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.
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.