Sunday, February 11, 2007

Salty business

I just heard about a small Maine Company, Quoddy Mist Sea Salt, that is using the briny seawater that surges up the Bay of Fundy to harvest an unusual product: salt.

As a bit of a foodie myself, I've noticed a trend toward gourmet salts - now widely available in fine restaurants and health food stores.

The processing of common table salt typically removes the minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. But gourmet salt companies have figured out a way to purify the salt water but leave in higher percentages of the healthy minerals.

This is how the brine-to-salt process works: draw in seawater, filter it, heat it, evaporate it, grind it and package it.
A byproduct of the process, which is strikingly similar to that used by maple syrup producers (we'll talk about that next month!), is distilled water. Currently Quoddy Mist discards the water back into the bay but the company is looking for a market for the pure water.

The end product can look like giant icicles, tiny snowflakes or little squares - lovely to see and taste!

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