Himalayan and Unrefined Sea Salt
Unrefined sea salt is harvested from the same old ways and methods that have been used for hundreds of years. Some ancient salts slowly bloom on the surface of still, deep pools and are carefully retrieved by hand. These unique, new crystals are usually called the caviar of salt. Today, many people enjoy this salty delight, but the purest seawater salt is still crystal salt harvested using modern equipment.
There are a wide variety of salt types. Each different type of salt has its own unique mineral content, which brings the salt to its unique taste. Unrefined sea salt varies in mineral content from light, pale yellow to almost clear. The mineral content can vary significantly depending on where the salt was harvested, whether the salt was obtained from seawater or another source, and what the quality of the minerals is. The quality of the minerals may be determined by a test that compares a number of minerals against a standard. The mineral content and overall quality of the salt will determine the price and grade of the salt.
Some of the salts commonly available are unrefined sea salts or “normal” salt. Unrefined sea salt contains more sodium chloride than does sea water. Salt is divided into two categories based on the way it is processed. Most table salt contains Sodium chloride, while commercial grade table salt does not. This salt is considered the “low grade” salt and generally has a less salty taste.
High grade table salt is made by soaking salt mineral in an acid solution that neutralizes the salt’s sodium content. This process also adds the necessary magnesium and potassium. Commercial grade sea salt has a greater and fuller salt flavor and is used as a food and medical seasoning. However, many people prefer the unrefined sea salt for its natural, “dirty” taste and because it is healthier than regular table salt.
Himalayan salt is also available in two forms: unrefined and refined. Himalayan salt was originally mined in Nepal. It contains a high amount of salt minerals that are beneficial to the human body, especially if taken in high doses on a regular basis. It is also known for its healing properties. Doctors prescribe it for those who suffer from arthritis, urinary tract infections, heartburn, indigestion, and kidney stones.
Unrefined sea salt and Himalayan salt are processed differently, depending on how they were harvested. Most table salt is harvested by boiling the mineral in seawater for about two hours. Afterward, it is transferred to a tank with liquid oxygen. As the salt passes through various stages of oxidation, it becomes darker and lighter in color. High quality Himalayan salt undergoes even more processing, resulting in a richer, more intense salt taste.
Refined salts are refined after passing through an activated carbon filtration system. Most of the minerals are washed away during this process, but sodium and magnesium are retained. The filtration process removes other beneficial minerals, such as calcium, which is a vital element for strong bones and teeth. However, it does not remove trace minerals that are beneficial to our health. These include potassium and sodium, which are found in fruits, vegetables, and some dairy products. Although some believe that unrefined Himalayan salt and table salt have similar minerals, recent studies have shown that they contain different amounts of minerals.
Salt is an important part of our lives. Although many of us can’t live without salt, most of us don’t know what the different types are, and the mineral content of each type. All salts are mined from the earth’s surface; however, the way they are harvested, the way they are refined, and their mineral content vary greatly. Unrefined salt is processed differently than salt harvested from the ocean. While both harvesting methods result in salty products with varying mineral content, the refined salt is processed to make it easier to ingest in large quantities.