Making Sea Salt

I have attemted to make sea salt several times on a small scale. I got 2 results.

One was taking a nice clean sample from the bay I live on and boiling it till near dry. This was flavorful but the texture was not what I was looking for. Kinda thin and and the grain was small.

The other time was absolutly amazing. It took a long time maby a month or more. Maby a 4 cup sample in a mostly covered pyrex baking dish. And just waited it out. The temps here in alaska are not all that high and with the cover mostly on it slowed the evap time down. But let me tell you this salt was amazing. I have tried and regualry use all sorts of salts but this was the stuff.

Each crystal was well defined and appeard to be perfect cubes. The color was mostly clear. The flavor of a ocean breeze. Better and more beautiful than any salt I have tasted or seen.

Now I have not tried this again for a while and was thinking of ways to make more of it and maby even sell it in the furure. “Alaskan Sea Salt” “Kachemak Bay Salt”
Now I know the fast way is sub-par and the ultra slow way is fabulous. I was hoping that some of you dopers would tell me some of the science behind this so that I can work on a faster way to make pounds at a time but not sacrafice the quality and looks of this ocean gem.

I know “There will be no wine before it’s time,” but will I get the same results if I fill a couple barrels up and wait a year or so. How about some sort of homemade slow evap still? I know how some large scale operations work with large drying beds and stuff but that is not what I am looking for.

Thanks in advance for any info.

My WAG would be that it’s mostly due to the texture. Boiling the water off created salt crystals of a different size and shape, which for some reason wasn’t pleasing to your palate. I’ve got an idea, but it depends on whether or not salt dissolves in alcohol, which is something I haven’t tested. If it is soluable in alcohol, you could boil down the salt-water to crystals, then dissolve them in a small amount of vodka (or some other high proof, non-gin clear liquor), and let that evaporate naturally. Since the alcohol is more volatile than water, it’ll evaporate quicker, and will still probably leave the same texture crystals behind as the long method.

I think what you’re looking for here is crystal size. That means, as far as I know, that you’ll have to do it the long way, as even if Electronic Chaos’s method works, the quick evaporation of the alcohol will still probably leave a very fine, small-grained salt (but I don’t think it’d dissolve in the alcohol in the first place.)

Yeah, looking at various sites through Google, I see that it’s probably not possible to dissolve salt completely in alcohol. BUT what may work is dissolving it down to a very small amount of water, then mixing that with the alcohol. I suppose it never hurts to try, right?

To speed up evaporation without using heat, eh? The obvious answer is to use a bigger bowl. More surface area = more evaporation. If you want to make pounds at a time, you’ll need a realllly big bowl.

Sure. First thing you do is get a heapin’ helpin’ of crown ether:slight_smile:

I’m really not thinking you want to speed up evaporation. I believe he’s looking for larger salt crystals, and this means sloooooooow evaporation, if I’m not mistaken.

You could probably boil off at least some of the water to get to a saturated solution, then let the rest of the water evaporate slowly to form big crystals.

In the lab, our stock NaCl solution was 5 M, that’s about 585 grams in two liters of solution. This is pretty damn close to saturated – it was a pain in the ass to make. Seawater is about 2000-2400 mOsM. Assuming that most of this is sodium chloride, this works out to pretty much 1-1.2 M. So you could probably reduce 8 L of seawater to 2 L by boiling before you would get crystal formation.

You could reduce 10 L to 2 L by boiling and end up with a near saturated or supersaturated solution. The key is to get a cool solution without crystals before beginning evaporation (crystals would indicate a supersaturated solution beginning to precipitate out). You don’t want a very supersaturated solution because you may be faced again with the problems that you encountered with boiling – namely that there would be too many small crystals – but a slightly supersaturated solution that just seeds out a few crystals (which serve as nucleation for further crystallization) may be OK. Better safe and stop the boiling before you get to saturation.

Evaporating 2 L of water (around a half gallon) reduced from 10 L (around 2.5 gallons) would give you about 580 grams (around 1.25 pounds of salt) by my calculation…