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I'm always watching cookery programmes - Jamie, Nigella, Gordon - and I noticed that on certain shows, especially Nigella, mention would be made of 'Maldon Sea Salt'.
Now, to me, salt is salt - and it's not something I use too often in cooking - after all, we've all had it drummed into out heads that too much salt is bad for us, and that many packaged foods contain loads of it . But, salt is good on some foods - home made chips would not be the same without a little bit of salt sprinkled over the top , and neither would blanched edamame beans .
Ooooooooh, look at me getting all fancy and exotic! Well, those little beans happen to be one of my favourite dishes from Yo! Sushi, where they come sprinkled with spring onion and salt flakes . I tried them with ordinary table salt, and it just wasn't the same. So, resolved to buy some salt flakes, I went off to the supermarket and finally got some Maldon Salt
I was a little interested in what made this salt different, and had a look at their fantastic website ( http://www.maldonsalt.co.uk) which has some facinating, detailed information. I'll try to condense it down a little . Basically, in the town of Maldon, salt water is harvested from the centre of the river Blackwater, and then left in storage tanks to settle .This way mud and sediment are filtered out, and the salt is then moved into large stainless steel pans -and bought to a galloping boil which brings other impurities, such as magnesium , to the surface where they can be skimmed off . It is them simmered for 16 hours, so that the water evaporates and crystals of salt form on the surface of the water, sinking when they get to a certain weight. These crystals are then gathered and left to drain in special bins, and once drained and dry , they're ready for the table . Nothing is added to the product- so its all perfectly natural .
The salt itself in is small , almost pyramid shaped crystals, which can be easily broken down further using a mill, or even by crushing in your own hands. It does taste more 'salty' than table salt if used in its raw state, just due to the pieces being larger - but this was exactly what I wanted when trying to recreate the edamame bean dish at home.
Used sparingly, it is also excellent on chips, and the vinegar does dissolve the salt a little!
Not being a regular user of table salt, I had no hesitation in changing over to Maldon salt, which is also excellent in cooking on the rare occasion when I do want to add it into dishes . It is more expensive though -costing £160 for 250g, whereas Saxa (the only branded table salt I know) costs just 61p for 750g.
They also have a smoked variety, which costs £2.09 for 125g. I have yet to try this, as I can't think of many uses for smoke salt, and its a little too expensive for me to buy just in case I ever discover a use for it .
I do feel that I actually use less salt with this than I do with table salt - although this may just be my imagination .
Would I recommend this ? Well, yes, absolutely. Not only doe it allow me to faithfully recreate a favourite dish at home, but it tastes wonderful on fish and chips, and it looks attractive in a salt grinder or even just in a dish ready for sprinkling . If you use a lot of salt, it may work out quite expensive, but for me, only using salt occasionally, I find a pack of this will last me a very long time!
Ive used Maldon sea salt for a good few years now, for cooking purposes and to simply sprinkle on food before eating.
As with everything we eat there are different views on the advantages/disadvantages of salt/sea salt, remember how liver was a superfood especially for pregnant ladies? Then it was virtually out lawed.
We also had the "great egg controversy", to a certain extent it's down to personal choice and as long as we don't consume massive amounts, we shouldn't have a problem. I personally haven't had any adverse reactions.
Table Salt or Common Salt ~ is a processed, refined very "white" salt designed to pour easily. In the refining process alot of minerals are removed, leaving Sodium Chloride and Iodine. There are much higher levels of Iodine in table salt than sea salt.
Sea Salt ~ is salt derived straight from the sea (fancy that). It's said to have a much higher mineral content of potassium, magnesium and calcium
than table salt. As it is usually washed/boiled there are suspicions that it too loses some nutrients.
Packaging~ Maldons Sea Salt comes in a 250g box green and white in colour
it states "pure flaky crystals ~ the chef's natural choice" it's approved by The Organic Food Federation.
Storage ~ keep dry.
Maldon, Essex, England. www.maldonsalt.co.uk
Ingredients~ Pure Crystal Sea Salt with no additives.
Nutritional Information~ Per 100g ~ No kcals, protein, carbohydrates, fat or fibre.
Contains valuable sea water trace elements ~ magnesium and calcium.
Inside the box, the salt crystals are sealed in a plastic bag, great idea as you don't have them falling out of the box, and they are also kept moisture free. The beauty of the crystals for me is, you don't need a salt grinder, you simply crush them between clean fingers and sprinkle on your food.
Available from Tesco and Sainsburys approx £1.60, this may seem expensive but the box does last roughly 2 months-ish.
For those who like to know about taste and smell, the salt doesn't smell of anything and has a clean delicate salty flavour, Im not joking there, even if you put it straight into your mouth as I have just done, you get a delicate flavour tickling your taste buds not a power packed salty sledge hammer.
Smoked Sea Salt is available ~ Gently cold smoked salt crystals giving a subtle smoky flavour said to enhance the flavour of ~ meat, fish and poultry.
Organic Sea Salt with Black Peppercorns ~ Finest sun dried black pepper corns added to deliver a hot spicy aromatic flavour.
Tidmans Rock Salt ~ A coarse texture salt for use in salt grinders.
I have not sampled these yet, but I'm tempted to give the "smoked" flavour a try.
The Maldon Crystal Salt Company ~ Is a family run business using the ancient methods of "panning" salt since 1882. The soft flaky salt crystals are said to be pyramid in shape this being a characteristic of Maldon Salt.
I find the salt has a clean, fresh taste and almost cleanses the palate if that makes sense, it never makes me thirsty and I have never experienced any "bitter after tastes" as I have with some Table Salt. I also find only a small amount is required to enhance the flavour of my food therefore generally I use less than I would of an alternative.
History ~ Prehistoric Man or should that be Woman ~ used salt to flavour and preserve their Dinosaur Steaks.
Egyptians ~ Preserved their meat with salt.
Romans ~ Used salt as money ~ Salarium ~ Salary.
Salt has always been a valuable commodity to trade and is linked with friendship, how? Think of these age old sayings ~
"worth his salt" and "salt of the earth".
If you are still with me heres a last thought ~
Salt will freeze ice-cream ~ But melts snow.
Salt preserves food ~ But kills some plant life.
Salt is used to bleach textiles ~ But is used to tan leather.
I feel I must award my little box of sea salt 5 salty stars.
Thanks for reading ,I hope you found it interesting.
I used to think all salt was the same but as a fan of cookery books and cookery programmes I kept coming across references to Maldon sea salt so I thought I would try it and am now a committed customer.
I buy boxes of the salt in 250g quantities from any supermarket. The salt inside comes in flaky crystals - you just pick up a pinch and crumble between your fingers into your cooking or over your food. It crumbles easily, not like rock salt which you need to put into a grinder to flake on your food. I am sure the taste is nicer than table salt and am convinced less is more and use less.
I like the fact Maldon sea salt is an old company and is made from sea salt without any additives added - although I confess I don't know if table salt has any additives. The main reason I like it is the ease of seeing and feeling how much salt you are adding to food. The only downside I can see is that the box lasts for ages and that's a lot of fingers getting dipped in the salt over the months. It might be an idea to decant the salt into a small bowl to keep alongside the cooker.
Having children, one tends not to season with salt very often as one is meant to avoid sodiam at all costs. However, I am torn as a chef. I have reaserched at lenghth that infact the high chemical content in gran*lated salt is more of a problem. We now only have Maldon Sea salt to hand. It is totally natral and has not added chemicals to make it free flowing or non clogging. It is totally different to other salts, even sea salt. It is extremly soft and breaks very easily when pinched between fingers. A small amont is needed to give a deep salty flavor, so in my opinion fine for smallish kids. Its not very good for chips, or as a table salt, for obtaining the best crackling on pork or a skin on roast chicken its amazing. Be warned, it has to be applied very sparingly in general cooking, as will be very overpowering if replacing a standard table free flowing alternative. A serios cooks choice.
Ahh... Maldon Sea Salt.
It is perhaps the greatest of all sea salts, and not just because of it's great taste. In my opinion, it is because of the story behind how it is made.
I was actually born in Maldon, a small village on the coast of Essex. It is a pretty village, with the river Blackwater flowing right by it and into the North Sea. The mouth of the river is a particularly salty one due to the spring tides which take dried salt from the marshes upstream. Many hundreds of years ago people began collecting this dried salt and using it for all sorts of purposes. It is possible that the Roman's, who had a strong presence in this part of the country, used salt as a trading tool. There are all sorts of ruined buildings across the Essex coast who's walls have been found to be impregnated with salt, an indication that they may have been used to process the valuable material. At some point, salt collectors began taking sea water from the estuary and evaporating it in large pans. This is still the method used today, albeit refined with technology to ensure that all the bits we don't want stay out of the final product. The salty water is taken from the middle of the river, where it's salinity is far higher than the seawater further out. The Maldon Crystal Salt Company has been refining the salt in this way for 200 years.
Some say that sea salt is healthier for you than table salt. I'd always believed this to be true until recently, when I decided to investigate. The argument goes like this: Firstly, it is healthier because it tastes "saltier", so you don't have to use as much. Secondly, it contains minerals that benefit the body which are lacking in table salt. Well, the first seems to be partly true. What is actually going on is that the extra minerals found in sea salt are contributing to a more powerful taste. It isn't actually saltier, it just has a stronger taste. There is almost the same amount of sodium chloride in a teaspoon of table salt as there is in a teaspoon of sea salt. The extra taste is a good thing though, because we all know that we should use less salt. Secondly, the mineral question... Well, the actual amount of trace minerals in sea salt are very low. Extremely low, in fact. Way below the RDA for all of them. No reasonable amount of sea salt is going to make up for a poor diet! However, it is certainly better than table salt. There are some minerals in sea salt, which is better than none. Table salt also contains anti-caking agents, which while they have not been shown to cause damage to the body, are really another avoidable chemical. As for another reason why sea salt may not be that much healthier? Well one must also watch out for it's lack of Iodine, a necessary thyroid-stimulating nutrient that is also found in dairy and processed foods and is usually added to table salt. So if you don't eat of a lot of those, you may want to think about adding a little Iodized salt to your diet. Finally, there is the marketing phrase that sea salt manufacturers like to shout around - "it's healthier!" they say! The issue with this is that we should be careful to realise that most people don't need to add much, if any, salt to their diets in order to be healthy. Don't be fooled and start thinking that because sea salt is healthy it should be consumed in large quantities.
So there you have it. Sea salt is definitely better in almost every respect than table salt, but it is still salt, so watch out! But if you'd like an incredible tasting, natural sea salt with an great story behind it, buy Maldon Sea Salt. You won't regret it!
MALDON SEA SALT
Now I aim to be healthy and look after myself and my family like most people and for that reason we don't own a salt pot. However, there are always recipes that require salt and I first came across Maldon Sea Salt in a Delia Smith Cook Book. I went out and bought it and have not used anything else since.
This company dates back a long while - 1882 and is still run by the Osborne family and is harvested by hand. It is one of only four companies that actually manufacture salt in England. It is produced at Maldon in Essex.
The packet is green and white with a picture of salad on it. Inside is a white packet with flaky pyramid shaped crystals in it. I use the instructed amount as per the recipe and my family enjoys the food produced using it. It has no nutritional value to speak of, although the packaging says it contains trace elements fo magnesium and calcium.
I know salt isn't good for you - but I don't use alot. Cooking apart, we do use in on chips from the chippy!! It makes them taste great, although healthy I know it is not!
I usually buy it in Tesco for £2.09 for 250g, a little expensive, but my box lasts for ages. I believe there is also a new smoked version out now.
I feel better knowing it is naturally produced, and justify using it, as we don't generally have salt on our food. (Apart from Chippy chips!) I find it improves the quality of the taste.
The only gripe that I have is that when you open the packet and take salt with a spoon, a little inevitably falls back into the box. After using it a few times, you begin to notice it seeping out of the bottom of the box, and your cupboard needs tidying up. It would be better (though perhaps not as authentic) if it came in a different more efficient kind of dispenser. For that reason I have only given it 4 stars.
Overall, I will continue to use the salt both for cooking and for the odd bag of chips!!! I also like the fact that I am supporting an English company - especially in these difficult times. Just thought I would let people know if it's existence and what it is used for.
The Maldon Sea Salt website is very useful and also outlines how salt is made, which is good for educating children.
Maldon Sea Salt is produced by The Maldon Crystal Salt Company Limited, at Maldon in Essex.
Maldon, for those of you who do not know, is a small country town situated on the bank of the River Blackwater on the east coast of England It is said that salt has been produced here since Roman times however, the Maldon Crystal Salt Company, which is a small family concern, has been in existence since 1882. They are still operating from the same riverside site that they have occupied for over 100 years.
A combination of low rainfall, strong winds, bright sunshine and low-lying marshland provide the perfect environment for producing salty water. In the early days, this sea water was collected from the shallow pools and boiled over wood fires. These fires also acted as beacons for the returning local fishing fleets.
Although the production has been modernised, the Company still rely on favourable conditions and their success is due to the production, using traditional methods, of the high quality white flaky sea salt which is unique to the area.
Now to the actual product: You can buy this salt in most supermarkets, health food shops and delicatessen. I bought mine in a supermarket in Maldon. Its not a place I generally go to do shopping, but the idea of buying Maldon Sea Salt in Maldon pleased me and, as I was there at the time and needed salt, it seemed a good opportunity!
The packaging: It comes in a square box with a pale green gingham pattern and green writing (as shown in the picture above). Inside there is another wrapper a sort of white waxed bag in which the salt is sealed. The size: 250g.
The salt itself is in small pyramid shaped crystals. Having read that they were pyramid-shaped I felt obliged to inspect them under a magnifying glass and found that indeed they ARE pyramid-shaped! The flakes are not hard, as you might expect, but will crumble easily, meaning that you can use them as they are or with a grinder if you prefer.
I am not a great salt eater and only really use it for cooking, but I find that the taste of this is a lot less harsh than other salt. When cooking you need less, this also makes it a far more healthy option. There are no additives but it does retain trace elements such as magnesium and calcium from the sea water.
Maldon Sea Salt is widely used by chefs some examples being: Jamie Oliver, Nick Nairn and Nigella Lawson. Delia Smith also listed it as one of her essential ingredients.
At a cost of 1.89 GBP for 250g (Tescos price) it is considerably more expensive than other salts. However, I do feel that it is well worth the extra cost for the extra benefits plus the fact that you use considerably less.
I hope that this has been of some interest. Thank you for reading.