The salt shaker which we reach for so casually on our table is the result of millennia of human endeavour, laden with history, symbolism and ritual. Salt has run through the unrecorded and recorded past of humans, such a constant companion that we can track the development of civilisation and the creation of the modern world by its presence.
Nelson Mandela, in his first speech to the South African nation in 1994, said there were three things every person needs on the table:
Water, Salt and Bread.
Ocean brine contains the precious minerals our bodies require. Each cell of our body needs salt for optimum functioning and our blood has a salt content that almost exactly matches that of the ocean (unless it is refined table salt which is pure Sodium Chloride and is without any trace elements). It is hardly surprising, then, that as creatures of the sea, we should need to constantly replenish our bodies with sea salt, and that it should be an essential ingredient in the food we eat.
Salt, the essence of the sea, that body of water that all life came from, comes from the residue of lost oceans and seas (as is the case in the sea-aquifer from which Khoisan Trading obtains its richly mineralised brine); and from the evaporating edges of living ones.
Medical and scientific studies condemning table salt examine only refined salt. In the industrial refining process as many as 82 trace minerals and essential macronutrients are forcibly removed. Worldwide, table salts are refined to the point that they are almost 100% Sodium Chloride. All trace elements and minerals, which natural unrefined sea salt should contain, have been washed out in the refining process. Chemicals are then added to keep salt free-flowing and dry. Some salt pans bleach their salt if it is of poor quality. The high technology methods inherited from the era of the Industrial Revolution is geared for mass production, mainly for industry, and was never designed to produce mineral-rich food grade salt.
Humans need whole, pure, ocean salt daily: medical and biological facts support this. Salt has many uses but we also love salt for its own taste, one we first acquired from eating seafood gathered by the shore and from the uncooked flesh of animals. But we also love it for the particular magic that occurs when salt is added to other foods, causing their flavours to blossom fully and to unify in finished dishes.
Khoisan’s unrefined, hand harvested sea salt is a more labour intensive and gentler process allowing all sea salt minerals and trace elements to remain intact. Some of these, such as magnesium, calcium and iron, are particularly good for health and occur in relatively high concentrations in unpurified sea salt. Its’ taste differs tremendously from refined table salt, with a stronger and more delicious taste. This South African sea salt, harvested on the West Coast, is a revelation, with its distinct mineral taste and a roundness of flavour, texture and unparalleled whiteness – it will never look completely dry as it has no added anti-caking agents.