Sea salt has become increasingly popular of late. There are several different methods used to extract salt from the sea including desalination and evaporation, but for most commercial sea salt manufacturers, evaporation is the preferred method of extraction as it is more cost-effective and natural.
Sea Salts Today
Today's eco-friendly marketplace has given rise to the popularity of sea salts as an alternative to mined salt. Since mined salts use more resources and use additives, sea salt has become easier to find in many supermarkets as an alternative to mined salts. It is considered to be the "organic" choice for most health-conscious eaters.
Many sea salt makers use simple evaporation to make their sea salt. In Hawaii, salt water is put through special filters and set under solar heat to dry leaving behind the salt. Many salt harvesters employ the use of greenhouses in which large flat tanks of water are left to evaporate leaving behind the salt crystals which are then scraped and packaged for sale.
Desalination is not a source of sea salts. Desalinated water uses brackish water--part seawater and part freshwater--and separates fresh water from the brackish and returns the brine to the sea. It is not cost effective to harvest desalinated salt from the desalination process. Desalination can produce Epsom salt for use in medicines, but not for culinary purposes.
Do-It-Yourself Sea Salt
Sea salt can be made right in your home -- if you have access to seawater. Take a gallon of seawater and cook it down on the stove or fill a shallow baking pan with it and allow it to evaporate on the stove. The crystals that are left behind will be your sea salt. Scrape them together and use a salt mill to make them easy to sprinkle on your meals.