Food Guts - Ingredient Information

Ingredient Lookup

Sea Salt

Nutritional Information

1 cup, sea salt

  • Calories 0
  • Calories from Fat 0
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 113173mg4716%
  • Potassium 23mg1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 0g0%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g0%
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 0g0%
  • Calcium 2mg0%
  • Iron 2mg11%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%

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Sea Salt on Wikipedia:

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2008) Chemical composition of sea salt by mass Sea salt harvest in Île de Ré, France.

Sea salt, obtained by the evaporation of seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. Historically called bay salt[1] or solar salt, its mineral content gives it a different taste[2] 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, South Korea, Colombia, Sicily, Apulia in Italy, Maldon in Essex UK,[3] and Hawaii,[4] 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.


Historical production

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.

``Fleur de sel`` sea salt, Île de Ré.

Such places are today called salt works, instead of the older English word saltern. An ancient or medieval saltern could be established where there was:

Access to a market for the salt. A gently-shelving coast, protected from exposure to the open sea. A cheap and easily worked fuel supply; preferably, the sun. 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.

Manual salt collection in Lake Retba, Senegal.

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.


This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)

Sea salt is primarily composed of the following ions[5], listed in order of descending abundance by weight:

Chloride (Cl-) 55.03% Sodium (Na+) 30.59% Sulfate (SO42-) 7.68% Magnesium (Mg2+) 3.68% Calcium (Ca2+) 1.18% Potassium (K+) 1.11% Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 0.41% Bromide (Br-) 0.19% Borate (BO33-) 0.08% Strontium (Sr2+) 0.04% Everything else 0.01%

Although the salinity of sea water varies quite a bit worldwide, the relative abundances of the constituent ions remain the same.

Taste and health

A commercial pack of sea salt

Gourmets often believe sea salt to be better than ordinary table salt in taste and texture,[citation needed] 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 untreated salts, such as pink Himalayan salt, or grey colored rock salt. Sea salt is purified less than the high mineral pink salt.

Because sea salt generally lacks high concentrations of iodine,[6] an element essential for human health,[7] it is not necessarily a healthful substitute for regular iodized table salt,[8] which is usually supplemented with the element, unless another source of dietary iodine is available (such as dairy products or regular processed foods).[9] Iodized forms of sea salt are now marketed to address this concern.[citation needed]

A salt mill for sea salt.

See also

Sodium chloride History of salt Salt evaporation pond Bath salts


^ Brownrigg, William (1748). ``The Art of Making Common Salt, as Now Practised in Most Parts of the World``. pp.  12.  Retrieved 11/2007 from Google Book Search ^ Sea salt: Is it better for you than regular salt? - ^ Tom Dyckhoff (2007-09-08). ``Let's move to... Maldon, Essex``. The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ Gary Kubota (2005-10-03). ``Sea-salt farm spices up Molokai’s dull economy``. Star Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ The chemical composition of seawater ^ Iodine in non-iodized sea salt ^ Fisher, Peter W. F. and Mary L'Abbe. 1980. Iodine in Iodized Table Salt and in Sea Salt. Can. Inst. Food Sci. Technolo. J. Vol. 13. No. 2:103–104. April ^ Iodized Salt in the United States ^ Sea salt: Is it better for you than regular salt? -