Posted by admin | 04.20.2011 | Marine Science

Tasting the Surf

It’s essential for life, but too much can be toxic. It flows through our oceans, is embedded in Earth’s crust, pours forth from natural springs, and courses within each of us. Previous cultures have used it as a form of payment, providing the origin of the word salary. Ancient Egyptians were buried with it, wars were fought over it, towns were named after it, and Gandhi led a non-violent march because of it. Small, but mighty is the salt crystal.

Despite all the controversy, salt at a chemical level is a simply thing – the result of the neutralizing union of an acid and a base. Metals stacked on the left side of the periodic table join with the electron-hungry elements from right side, forming a strong bond. While some may crave salt for the flavor, physiologically your body craves it for its ability to absorption of nutrients by cell membranes and transmission of nerve impulses.

Living in a coastal community, we have a strong connection with salt. Our oceans taste like a swirling soup of salt, despite being only 3.5%. Salt is rinsed down rivers and carried to the ocean, and sometimes it returns back upstream depending on the tidal cycle. Life struggles to find a balance between too much and too little salt. Marsh plants tread a fine line in the estuary. Freshwater fish fight hard to maintain their salt levels, while marine fish are constantly trying to eliminate excess salts. Some organisms even have the ability to change and regulate their osmotic levels in different saline environments.

While chemically salts may be simple, their ability to transform food is nothing short of remarkable. It was used as a preservative, allowing explorers to travel farther and provided farmers with a buffer against poor crop yields. As freezing and refrigeration capabilities increased, salt was needed less to preserve, but its use in seasoning expanded.

Salts can come in a variety of colors and can elicit different taste sensations, and have the ability to optimize taste. Since there is a great diversity in colors and flavors, certain salts can be paired well with different food items. While many companies have been coming out with sea salts, recent products from Surf Salt provide a unique blend of sea salt from the world’s best waves with all natural seasonings that promote not only flavor, but health.