Today I made my first trip to the beach of the season. It’s been too long, I hate that so many months have passed since I last dipped my toes in the Atlantic, and after all the traveling I’ve been doing I was determined to see the ocean this week. So with tourist season looming and a promise made to my students of trying our hand at homemade salt, today was the day. Waist deep in the surf (which, by the way, is the perfect temperature thanks to our early heat wave) I collected two gallons worth of Wrightsville Beach Salt Water, soon to be rendered into Wrightsville Beach Salt.
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making salt from salt water, and being a preschool teacher provides the perfect opportunity for such science experiments. We made two batches- Taste of the Atlantic and Ginger Infused. The basic process is as such: fill a container with as much sea water and as little sand/shells/debris as possible. Strain the water through a cheese cloth and fine mesh strainer, and then set to a light boil over medium-high heat. Rest on your laurels.
After a few hours of simmering (approximately 3), our gallon of salt water had condensed into a 1/2 liter of super concentrated salt water. From there I transferred it into a ceramic baking dish and stuck it in a 450F oven for an additional hour. After the water has completely evaporated what is leftover is a coarse salt that can be collected by scraping it out of the dish and transferring it to a container. For a finer alternative, a few spins in a spice grinder and you have beautiful, white, perfect table salt.
The salt itself is lovely. It’s subtle, like licking your lips after a day on the boat. The ginger salt had the most beautiful balance of salt and spice, I can’t wait to try it on tom kah gai or curry basil falafel. I’m also feeling inspired to try other infused salts- chai, lavender, red pepper. I see myself driving home from the beach with a jar of salt water beside me many a long summer afternoon.
1 gallon salt water
4″ ginger root, peeled
Collect salt water and strain through mesh and cheese cloth. Boil over medium-high heat with ginger root for 4 hours, or until reduced to 1/2 liter of liquid. Heat oven to 450F and transfer saltwater to a ceramic baking dish, removing ginger. Bake an additional hour until all the liquid has evaporated. Let cool and transfer to a sealed container. For a finer salt grind with spice grinder.