We use it on everything, we use it in everything, it's on every restaurant table and in every home kitchen. Humans literally can't live without it. We're talking, of course, about salt. Salt is such an integral part of cooking and eating, and is so ubiquitous and important, but do you know where it comes from? You probably know it comes from the sea, but do you know how it's processed and how it gets to your table? PBS Food's web series "Original Fare" just released a great video detailing the process.
In a video called "Salt of the Earth," Original Fare creator Kelly Cox traveled to the Oregon coast and met Jacobsen Salt Co.'s Ben Jacobson to see how table salt is produced. As Jacobson walks Cox through the salt production process, it becomes clear that making salt is a lot more nuanced than simply evaporating seawater and collecting salt crystals.
The first step in the process is boiling down seawater not only to reduce the volume but to eliminate the calcium that is also found in the water. Calcium can give salt a bitter taste, so Jacobsen Salt Co. works hard to remove it. Once the calcium has been removed, the seawater is poured into shallow trays and left to evaporate. Salt crystalizes into large flakes and next comes Jacobson's favorite part: harvesting the crystals.
"My favorite part of the process is seeing the salt come out of the pan. It's just magical. It's fire and it's water and that's the only thing that we're using."
When the salt dries, it is divided into flake or mineral or into a specialty group, and then packed up and shipped across the country to restaurants and home kitchens.
Watch the video to see the step-by-step way Jacobsen Salt Co. makes salt and then don't be shy about adding a little extra into your food tonight. Jacobson hits the nail on the head when he says, salt is "the single most effective way to elevate every bite of food." Now that you know where it comes from, you'll enjoy it even more.