I’ve been doing a lot of curing and charcuterie projects lately and have been experimenting with infused salts and smoked salts. Luckily I live in Tasmania and have access to an expansive coastline which is not only visually stunning but also clean and largely free from pollutants – perfect for making sea salt!
I had been wanting to try my hand at making sea salt and hoping to eventually use it in my cooking. It is something that I’ve wanted to try for quite some time and it turned out to be a satisfying way to get a step closer to self-sufficiency. I hope you’ll find this as rewarding as I did. Just remember – be patient!
8-10 litres sea water
Note – When you are collecting sea water you will need it to be as free from pollutants as possible. The best way to be reasonably certain of this is to avoid collecting water near drains, jetties, boat ramps, wharfs and after rain storms. Try to find a beach or bit of coastline that is generally free from water-craft and any infrastructure. Ideally, jump in a broad and head as far from civilisation as you can.
You can collect as much as water as you like, however keep in mind that the more water you have the longer it will take to process. But, the more water you have the higher your salt yield will be. I used a 10 litre water drum that I purchased at a hardware store, but any clean bucket or similar container will suffice. 10 litres of water was a good starting point for me and I would recommend it for those who are new to the salt making process.
After you have collected the water let any sand etc settle to the bottom of your container as this will make it easier to filter the water. Using a fine sieve or cheese cloth to filter, pour the water into a heavy bottomed pan. You can repeat the filtering process if necessary.
Gradually bring the sea water to a slow boil. Continue the boil until your water volume has reduced by half, then reduce to a gentle simmer. This process may take several hours.
Stir the water from time to time. As the volume reduces you can gradually add in any remaining sea water you have collected that did not fit in the pot initially. This is a very slow process, so be prepared for it to take a few hours.
As the water continues to evaporate salt crystals will begin to appear. When this begins, make sure to sir regularly to stop the salt from clumping and sticking to the bottom.
When you have a wet sludgy looking mixture left it is time to remove it from the heat.
Continue stirring to evaporate any remaining water.
Spread out the damp salt mixture evenly onto a large flat pan or oven tray. You can either dry the salt in the oven on the lowest setting over a few hours (depending on the quantity and dampness of the salt). Or let it dry naturally on the window sill in the sunlight; this make take several days to a week. From time to time stir through the salt to break up any clumps that have formed.
The salt looked a little off colour when it was damp, but it became a much brighter white when it completely dried (note the colour difference between the above and blow pictures). I ended up with a yield of around 1.5 kgs of salt! The salt tastes great and you can use to sprinkle on every day dishes.