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Celtic Sea Salt

Nutritional Information:
Enriches the taste of food while adding vital minerals and trace elements

Regular salt is mined from the earth (often resulting in a negative environmental impact) and the salt is then iodized, bleached and diluted with chemical anti-caking agents.

Storage Information:
Coarse ground or "grey" salt is naturally moist

Best used for cooking so it can dissolve in the water

Can be ground with a mortar and pestle or in a salt grinder

Harvested from the sea, totally unprocessed

Store in ceramic, glass or wood container with loose fitting lid (not in contact with metal)

Food Fun Facts:
Sea salt, obtained by evaporating seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. Historically called bay salt, its mineral content gives it a different taste from table salt, which is pure sodium chloride, usually refined from mined rock salt (halite) or from sea salt. Areas that produce specialized sea salt include the Cayman Islands, Greece, France, Ireland, Colombia, Sicily, Apulia in Italy, Maldon in Essex UK, and Hawaii, Maine, Utah, the San Francisco Bay, and Cape Cod in the United States. Generally more expensive than table salt, it is commonly used in gourmet cooking and specialty potato chips, particularly the Kettle Cooked variety.

Where mineral salt has been readily obtainable it has long been mined. The salt mines of Hallstatt go back at least to the Iron Age. However, it has not been readily obtainable everywhere and the alternative coastal source has also been exploited for thousands of years. The principle of the production is the evaporation of the water from the brine of the sea. In warm and dry climates this may be done entirely by solar energy, but in other climates fuel must be used. For this reason, sea salt production is now almost entirely an industry of Mediterranean and other warm, dry climates.

Such places are today called salt works, instead than the older English word saltern. An ancient or medieval saltern could be established where there was:
1. Access to a market for the salt.
2. A gently-shelving coast, protected from exposure to the open sea.
3. A cheap and easily worked fuel supply; preferably, the sun.
4. Preferably, another trade such as pastoral farming and tanning so that it and the salt could each add value to the other in the form of leather or salted meat.

In this way, salt marsh, pasture (salting), and salt works (saltern) enhanced each other economically. This was the economic pattern in the Roman and Medieval periods around The Wash, in eastern England. There, the tide brought the brine, the extensive saltings provided the pasture, the fens and moors provided the peat fuel, and the sun sometimes shone.

The dilute brine of the sea was largely evaporated by the sun, and the concentrated slurry of salt and mud was scraped up. The slurry was washed with clean sea water so that the impurities settled out of the now concentrated brine. This was poured into shallow pans lightly baked from the local marine clay, which were set on fist-sized clay pillars over a peat fire for the final evaporation. The dried salt was then scraped out and sold.

Gourmets often believe sea salt to be better than ordinary table salt in taste and texture, though one cannot always taste the difference when dissolved. In applications where sea salt's coarser texture is retained, it can provide different mouthfeel and changes in flavor due to its different rate of dissolution. The mineral content also affects the taste. It may be difficult to distinguish sea salt from other salts with a high mineral content, such as pink Himalayan salt, or grey colored rock salt.

(Source: Sea Salt-Wikipedia.com)

Recipes:
Kimchi Recipe
From Julie Ann Seek Sharpe

~4 T sea salt
1 pound bok choi or napa cabbage
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
1 or 2 carrots 1 or 2 leeks/scallions
3 or 4 cloves garlic
3 or 4 hot chilies - fresh is better, but dried is okay - in a sauce is okay if the sauce has no preservatives/chemicals
3T fresh grated ginger

i followed the above recipe the first time, but since then i just use 3 pounds bok choi/napa cabbbage, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, and salt

1. mix a brine of about 4 cups water (does it matter if it's tap? wouln't the chlorine inhibit the fermentation process? - this just occurred to me, so i'm using bottled spring water next time, i guess. comments?) and 4 T salt. mix to disolve

2. chop the cabbage/ all other veggies and let soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep the veggies submerged - until soft - a few hours or overnight.

3. prepare spices: grate ginger, chop garlic and onion, chop chilis, -- kimchi can absorb a lot of heat. don't worry about precision - experiment - you can't mess this up. mix the spices into a paste (i cuisinart them, but i know some people would prefer a mortar...)

4. drain off brine from veggies - reserve it. taste veggies for saltiness. they should be decidely salty, but not unpleasantly so. too salty? rinse them - not enough? sprinkle with a couple teaspoons and mix.

5. mix veggies together with the spice-paste. stuff it all into clean quart-jars (3 pounds of cabbage = 2 quart jars). pack it tight until the brine rises -- add more reserved brine if you need to. weigh the veggies down with a smaller jar or a ziplock filled with brine (or, if you can remember to check them every day, just use your (clean) fingers to press the veggies down) - cover the jars with a cloth to keep out dust and flies

6 ferment for a week in a warm place - after about a week - when it tastes ripe (you can try it every day) - move it to the fridge

i eat kimchi on rice - i love basmati hot and kimchi cold -- i can't handle the salt when the kimchi is solo.

in china we had rice soup - really overcooked rice with LOTS of water - and something like kimchi for breakfast - they called them "pickled vegetable" -- so so so so good.

this recipe comes from _wild fermentation_ by sandor ellix katz - a book with lots of other recipes for fermented foods - and lots of information about the history and politics of food. i totally totally recommend it :)

kimchi with roots - i eat kimchi over rice or rice soup (common breakfast when i was in china) - here you go:

1 Q water
3 T salt
dissolve into a bowl

chop watever roots (thin) and put into the salt water until the bowl
is full and press down with a plate for a day (we end up with about 2
Q of veggies)

i used rutabega, turnip, carrots, radish, maybe others-don't remember

drain and reserve the liquid

the next day, make a paste of ginger, garlic, and hot pepper - more of
each than you think you need -- kimchi can absorb lots of spice and
it's better too hot than too bland

mix the veggies with the paste and pack in jars

cover with some leftover saltwater

let sit out for a week or so - press down every day to keep veggies
submerged

stick in the fridge then - it keeps forever - though it goes fast too:)
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