Harvested from the sea or wrested from the earth, salt would appear to be one of the humblest commodities. Yet the sodium it contains is a life-sustaining element. Sodium chloride is essential in the nutrition and physiological processes of all animals including man. From long before the first written word, there are repeated references in records and stories to the importance of salt as an essential in the daily diet.
Salt has not only ensured the survival of mankind, but colored the species food, religions, politics and superstitions. In ancient times, because of its power to preserve and purify, salt was spilled upon legal documents to symbolize enduring agreement and freedom from deceit. Mans effort to obtain salt can be traced back through history for salt has always been essential to human life. Salt is more precious to men than gold.
Ancient manuscripts tell us that more than 5000 years ago the Chinese obtained salt by boiling and evaporating the ash from seaweed. Later, people along the Mediterranean and Red Seas discovered that when seawater was evaporated by the sun, salt was left behind. This was the start of salt manufacturing and the same method of solar evaporation is used today in the production of many salts around the world.
Roman legionnaires who guarded the Via Solaria, one of the most famous military roads in history, received part of their pay in salt, their “salarium.” From this came the modern word “salary.”
To this day a good man is “worth his salt” and we take others’ dramatic pronouncements “with a pinch of salt.”
Many of salt’s applications, including salting of fish and meat to preserve it, have remained almost unchanged down through the millennia. Its place in our superstitions and sayings remains entrenched. Enshrined in the World’s many cultures and a vital part of global economies, salt is as essential to life as the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Surely there can be no product purer, more natural or environmentally friendly than salt – pure salt water provided and evaporated by Nature, harvested to perfection by Man.
Making salt in open pans is not new. In Mark Kurlansky’s recent book, Salt A World History, he suggests that in 450 B.C. a Chinese called Yi Duan “is believed to have made salt by boiling brine in iron pans, an innovation which would become one of the leading techniques for salt making for the next 2,000 years.” Rapid boiling is still used today but the