Monday, January 16, 2017

Visiting an Ancient Salt Mine

During man’s early years salt was a vital ingredient for survival. It meant food could be preserved and thus made available during lean times. This importance made salt highly prized and the salt trade brought immense riches to merchants who would coin the saying “salt was more valuable than gold”.

Thailand's Ancient Salt Mine or Bo Kluea in Nan Province has been producing salt for centuries surviving battles and wars by those who wish to seize the prize commodity. Surrounded by rugged mountains and national parks Bo Kluea resides in a remote area and looks like a time capsule from the past. Local villagers still work the salt mine with the same simple methods employed centuries ago to obtain salt from the underground reserves. The result is a clean natural product that unlike commercial table salt did not undergo the use of chemicals during processing and does not contain anti-caking agents.

I look forward to utilizing this salt for my upcoming fermentation projects.

The making of salt requires much patience. A simple wood fire oven provides heat.

Additional Note: The flower of salt is the highest grade of salt. These salt crystals will form on top of the water only after a lengthy period of evaporation. It is then scooped out and separated from the main bulk of coarse salt. The taste is soft and mild with an underlying sweetness. It is a far superior product compared to the harsh and strong taste of commercial table salt. Combining the salt from Bo Kluea with food provides a better balance by enriching and enhancing the flavors of food without overwhelming the more delicate flavors.

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