In my never ending pursuit to be more self sufficient I'm left wondering if the sea water at the coastline is 'clean' for getting the salt? How worried should I be about coastal runoff? Is there a better time of day, season, etc.? I don't have a boat to be able to get off shore to collect water.
I'm happy to hear anyone's thoughts and knowledge about this topic.
Here in France there are a few areas that are famous for the production of salt . http://www.seldeguerande.fr/index.php?l=e Guerande being the most famous in the north and the Carmarge in the south .
Taking your own sea water home is impractical because of the weight and volume required plus the heat to evapourate the water . Sun shine is used in france as its free so the summer is the time for making salt . Salt used to be made from sea water in Scotland but the cost of fuel made the practice prohibitive .
Here in France there are two grades "gross sel " and" Fleur de sel" both are very cheap compared to other things you could be making in the time taken to make a couple of kilos of salt .
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
I was recently on the Isle of Arran, off Scotland. We found a dilapidated stone hut on the shore line, and a pit (nor filled with water) that used to be a hand dug coal mine.
Hundreds of years ago, when salt was more valuable for it's preserving properties, there were small places like this where people hand dug coal to heat sea water and extract the salt. It was a grim, cold place. The coal seam they had been working was thin and low grade.
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This is something I've wanted to try for years! I'm thinking of getting out there and doing it for myself, and to give some to my foodie family members as Christmas gifts! That video is great, Cassie. I like the tip about the tides.
Here is something interesting I found in my research: a science-y "recipe" to make sure the end result tastes good. Although the "washing" step, using a store-bought kosher salt, would defeat the OP's (and my) intent of being more self-sufficient. I'm going to have to do more research on the bitter magnesium.
The video at the top of this page has an interesting tidbit about finding good, clean water.
I really want to add a sarcastic comment on how helpful Dale's post was, but I won't.
Location: San Francisco, CA for the time being
posted 1 year ago
Well, I went camping near the coast for Thanksgiving, and decided to give this a try.
The little cove near our campground was very dangerous, and if it weren't for my husband, I wouldn't have collected more than a few drops of water. I went down alone with plastic, gallon-sized, narrow-mouth bottles, and that was my first (really stupid) mistake. The narrow mouth made filling the bottles a very slow process.
Signage at the cove warned of rip currents, "sleeper waves," and to never turn your back on the water. Yikes. I tried collecting water from the shore for a minute or two, but then decided to climb over large rocks at the side of the cove, to see if I could find an area a little more protected from the waves. No luck. I got soaked. Totally defeated, and definitely fearing for my life if I continued, I gave up and headed back to camp.
Hearing my story, my husband decided to give it a try, and this time took the heavy, stainless-steel stockpots I'd brought for reducing the ocean water over the campfire, to collect the water in the first place. He managed to collect maybe 8 gallons. We put it over the fire, and had it boiling away for maybe 12 hours (I should have written this as soon as I got back, so that I remembered all the details better). This had it reduced to a slurry of about 4 cups. I stopped it there, and brought the rest home to finish the evaporation process in a low oven, for fear that I'd "burn" the salt over the campfire.
I'm ashamed to admit that after all that, I never got around to finishing the project (this is a bad personality trait I have). I did scrape some of the salt off the side of the pot to season the mashed potatoes that day for our camping Thanksgiving dinner, though! And, it tasted wonderfully salty and fresh on its own, not harsh or bitter.
The reason I've come back to post at all, is that I just watched episode 6 of Tudor Monastery Farm, and the female host made salt during the episode. To "clean" the salt, she says they (Tudor people) would have added a protein, like bull's blood ("cheapest"), near the end of the evaporation process. She did not have bull's blood at hand, and so whisked up a dozen or so eggs to add. She said it made a difference. This made me think of the "raft" technique used to clarify stock for consommé. Lightly whipped egg whites, and lean ground meat are added to a strained stock, and as this cooks, it attracts and traps tiny particles in the solidifying mass. Then, the "raft" of cooked egg whites and meat is removed. So, the host of the Tudor Monastery Farm show wasted those yolks!
This is my first problem. A brand new mega stainless steel pot bought just for this purpose. The salt is corroding it and rusting it. I ended up with a rust colored layer on the bottom. I strained it and put in a different pot.
just starting making salt,
here (nova scotia) I gather salt from the bay of fundy during really cold weather in big buckets, let it freeze overnight and skim the ice off,
the water freezes and most of the salt goes to the bottom, i do this until its about 1/2 or 1/3 the original volume. it gets quite salty by the end of this process.
then I burn it down on the woodstove because a fire is going anyways.
I also started infusing chaga while I am boiling it down and straining out before it gets to low. this results in a beautiful dark brown/black salt, that smells vanilla like.
its a fun winter project when theres not much foraging to be done.