Rare Hawaiian Sea Salt—Then and Now
In the days of global seafaring, salt was crucial to warding off malnutrition while aboard ship. Today sea salt is crucial to warding off boring food. Hawaiian Black Lava Salt is perfect for that. Our Hawaiian salt comes from the island of Molokai, which is one of the least developed of the Hawaiian islands. This means their waters are some of the cleanest in the archipelago. The final product of evaporated salt is fused with the highest purity and quality activated charcoal, then dried inside of a custom designed solar evaporator. The food grade solar pans are hermetically sealed to allow slow evaporation, which leaves the large salt crystals intact. This also retains all the valuable trace minerals and electrolytes. Most sea salt contains about 95% sodium chloride and 5% trace minerals, but this black salt yields a content breakdown of about 84% sodium chloride, with 16% trace minerals.
In the 1700’s, the British navigator James Cook made several voyages through the Pacific Islands and visited Hawaii three times. His sailors collected black salt from the shoreline at low tide. James Cook was known to have the healthiest crew among the British navy. He hardly lost a man to the dreaded scurvy. This was in part because of the salt, but also because he required his crew to eat sauerkraut and malt, a byproduct of the beer making process. Their health was positively affected by the outstanding mineral content of the salt found among the rocks of Hawaii.
The resurgence of salt harvesting on Molokai has brought new life to the economy of the island. Hawaiian sea salt is bottled and labeled under the supervision of the Salt Masters Guild of Hawaii. Cameron Hiro is one of those Salt Masters. He's been producing high quality salt for over 14 years, and produces this black salt on his property named Psalty Farms.
Pictured left to right: Jacque (mom), Houston (son), and Cameron (dad).[/caption] This salt presents itself on the tongue as very bright with an intense saltiness, which we surmise comes from the abundance of trace minerals. It is ideal for finishing dishes, as the salt's special color and texture will be lost in sauces and soups. Try a little over some fresh cooked fish or steak. Black salt has become popular amongst bakers and dessert fanatics too. Cookies and caramels are excellent with a little sprinkle of black salt, as well as a simple loaf of bread. Not too long ago this special salt was available only to local Hawaiians. We are delighted to share it with you thanks to the Hiros and their neighbors on Molokai. Aloha!
Article by Tom Erd, Spice House Owner
Rare Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt
I am interested in the salty flavor and lower percent of Sodium Chloride of this salt. Do the other Hawaiian sea salts have these characteristics? Is there a white-colored salt with these characteristics? Does lower Sodium Chloride mean Lower Sodium?
Reading about black lava & red sea salt was very informative & interesting to know. I was born & raised in Lahaina but have lived in North Carolina for fifty years. I’m planning to come home & one thing for certain, I’ll have to try, then purchase black lava salt to bring back with me to NC. for my family here. I’ve used red salt before, so ono. Mahalo for this article. It’s good to know.