Sea salt is produced by simple evaporation of sea water. Depending on the body of water, the salt will have different qualities: not just in flavor, based on the minerals in the local water, but also in the size and shape of the crystals. See our Salt Glossary for more on the different types of salt.
A subset of sea salt is artisan salt, which is created with added flavor is added. With the growing enthusiasm of chefs and home cooks, the flavor options have exploded. Saltopia, an online seller, offers dozens of flavored salts, including:
Fruit flavored salt: caper, coconut, habanero, jalapeño, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, tomato
Herb flavored salt: basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, mint, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, thyme, wasabi
Spice flavored salt: Aleppo pepper, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, curry, ginger, mustard, sumac, vanilla
Smoked salt: applewood, alderwood
Sweet flavored salt: brown sugar, honey, maple
Vegetable flavored salt: mushroom, onion, truffle
Blueberry salt: You can buy a jar or make your own. Photo courtesy Saltopia.
And beyond: balsamic vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon, chocolate, rose
Today, how about making a batch of blueberry sea salt? All you need are blueberries and salt!
There isn’t extensive blueberry flavor because the salt overwhelms it; but the color is gorgeous—a glorious garnish or finishing salt.
HOW TO USE BLUEBERRY SALT
Sprinkle it as in ingredient or a garnish:
Baking, especially with lemon (lemon muffins, shortbread, garnish a lemon tart)
Bread dipper with olive oil and herbs
Confections: salted caramels and salted chocolate
Cottage cheese, soft cheeses, yogurt
Dessert: cobblers, puddings
Finishing salt: beef lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, smoked fish
Fruit salad or grilled fruit (a bit of salt brings out the sweetness)
Glass rimmer: Blueberry Mojito, lemonade, Margarita, etc.)
Plate garnish (sprinkle bits on the plate for splashes of color)
Potatoes: baked, mashed, any pale recipe
Rice and other pale grains
Salads and cooked vegetables
Are you inspired to make your own? Photo courtesy Saltopia.
RECIPE: BLUEBERRY SALT
You can buy the blueberry sea salt or make your own. You can make batches as gifts, too.
Start with a small batch (this recipe makes one cup of blueberry salt). Prep time is 35 minutes, cook time: is 1 hour to 1 day, depending on whether you choose to oven dry (1 hour) or let dry naturally (24 hours or more).
After you make this recipe, you can customize it with other ingredients: balsamic vinegar, citrus peel, thyme, rosemary or any of the ideas above.
The recipe is courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, which has lots of delicious blueberry recipes
Ingredients For 1 Cup
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup coarse sea salt (substitute kosher salt, or for a beautiful flake salt, use Maldon salt, with unique, pyramid-shaped crystals)
1. LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. SIMMER the berries and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries pop and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. PRESS the blueberries with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, reserving the juice. Further strain the berries with a fine wire sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Line the sieve with cheesecloth and strain out the finer particles.
4. RETURN the juice to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer (watching closely so the juice doesn’t burn) until the juice is reduced to a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon. You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice.
5. REMOVE from the heat. Stir in the salt until the crystals are evenly coated, then spread the salt onto baking sheets. Let it air dry, stirring occasionally, until dry. This will take 4-24 hours, depending on the humidity. Alternatively, bake the salt in a 150° convection oven, stirring frequently until dry, about 1 hour.
TIP: For a deeper purple salt, add food color to the blueberry juice in Step 4.