Monday, 18 November 2013

Homemade Hebridean Sea Salt Flavoured With Seaweed

The condiment salt is referenced throughout the Old Testament, not only as an essential preservative but for its useful flavourings in food (Job 6:6). In Genesis 19, Lot's wife is turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying the angel's warning and looking back to Sodom as they fled to Zoar. Presumably in Biblical times in Palestine, where salt was readily available from the Dead Sea and Mount Sodom (made of rock salt) a high consumption of salt was to be expected.
Hebridean Salt Flavoured With Pepper Dulse

The word salad comes from the Latin salata; we still season our salad with salt today, as the Romans did.There is also suggestion of a link between the payment of Roman soilders in salt and the word salary. Salt water heals but an overdose make us thirsty, so unsurprisingly Cash  a UK group of specialists is concerned about the effects of salt on health. However it has been a symbol of purity since New Testament days 

 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." Matt 5:13

Living on the Outer Hebrides surrounded by clean, clear sea we often go to the beach with a well washed empty milk flagon.

An Island doctor with Hebridean sea water  

Returning to the kitchen, the seawater is strained into a wide paella pan, brought to the boil and then simmered. The simmering takes hours and my kitchen reminds me of Seville oranges and  marmalade making; condensation but without the orange scent but then, pure white crystals of salt

Sometimes I add marine algae  for flavouring. I remove the seaweed with a slotted spoon, towards the end of the simmering process.When the water has evaporated, I use a plastic scrapper to remove the salt from the pan and turn it on to a baking tray.The drying process is completed by placing the tray of salt in a warming drawer or low oven for about an hour. For a finer grain, grind the salt in a blender or clean coffee grinder.