By Nancy Smorch
I recently opened a new box of Maldon Sea Salt, poured some into my salt bowl, and out came this huge salt crystal! It’s the biggest one I’ve seen since I’ve been using Maldon, which is about 3 years. Those who know me give me a hard time about my “paraphernalia,” as they call it, that I pull out of my purse at restaurants. It’s actually a baggie with Maldon Sea Salt in it, but I’ve received a few raised eyebrows when people see me pull a baggie partially full of this white stuff. But I never go anywhere without it. You have to try it, and then you’ll understand too - there’s no other sea salt that comes close to it.
What makes Maldon Sea Salt so special? The company is run by 4th generation Osborne family (since 1882) and is one of only a few companies producing salt in England today. It is the only company that still harvests salt in Essex England, an area which experiences low rain and high winds, making it ideal for harvesting salt. The salt is hand harvested in the traditional manner, which also leads to its special flavor and is free from artificial additives and doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. Maldon also utilizes the ancient craft of panning salt. The low-lying marshlands of the Essex coastline produce salty water which is trapped in the marshes on the vegetation. The high winds and sun begin the evaporation process which starts the crystallization of the salt water. According the the Maldon website, “Purified seawater is evaporated in large stainless steel pans, using many of the traditional skills handed down by generations of salt-makers. The salt crystals are hand harvested daily using traditional long handled rakes, a process known as ‘drawing the pans.’ The characteristic, pyramid shaped, flaky crystals are unique to Maldon Salt and are recognised the world over as the finest salt available.”
There has been much controversy between table salt and sea salt, and there’s a lot of research out there which makes it confusing when trying to determine what is good for you. Basically, our body needs salt - the sodium and chloride in salt does the following: regulates blood pressure, is essential for brain and nerve function, helps with metabolism and digestion, and is crucial for adrenal function. Basic table salt has been heated to very high temperatures which may alter the chemical structure of salt (NaCl). It also has been chemically cleaned or “purified” and has anti-clumping agents added to it, and in some parts of the world, fluoride has also been added. So it’s basically 97.5% salt (stripped of the natural minerals and elements found in sea salt) and about 2.5% other chemicals. So, we do need salt, but if you are going to eat it, choose wisely.
Maldon Sea Salt can be found on Amazon.com, or in William Sonoma stores, and can also be purchased directly from the company in England.