Spice Journey: Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Did you know that this common addition to many spice cabinets was created so long ago, it pre-dates the dinosaurs? This pink salt is believed to quite possibly be the most ancient of all sea salts. Dried up oceans have left salt beds hundreds of feet deep under the Himalayan region. Local salt miners now work to extract this 250 million+ year old mineral by hand. This rare salt is then loaded onto yaks and brought down the mountain to be distributed throughout Pakistan via the same trade route that has been used for centuries. (Pictured above: Khewra Salt Mine)
What is Pink Himalayan Sea Salt?
Salt is a crystalline mineral made of two elements, sodium and chlorine (NaCl). These elements are essential for life and serve important functions in the body. Pure sodium chloride is white, but this rare salt gets its range of pink, white, and red hues due to mineral impurities and veining throughout the mine.
The Harvest & Journey
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mine located near the Himalayas in Pakistan. It is the second largest salt mine in the world. The Pink Himalayan Sea Salt beds were created by ancient oceans over 250 million years ago—as the Himalayas formed, the ocean layers were lifted, covered by lava and then ice for millennia.
The Khewra Mine produces 325,000 tons of salt every year –that’s 12 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. The vast majority of it is exported. Traditional methods are still used to harvest the salt—stone cutters have passed down their techniques from generation to generation. The salt is mined using the room and pillar method, the miners leave 50% of the salt behind to act as a pillar for the mountain. The salt is brought down the mountain, across the sea, and to our warehouse in Denver, CO where it is bottled and labeled by hand.
You would be hard-pressed to detect any major taste differences between Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and "regular salt", except that sea salt is usually coarser, even when finely ground. Coarser sea salts produce a different mouthfeel when sprinkled on food after it’s been cooked, and cause a desirable flavor burst.
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt can be used in recipes as you would any other salt, but it is absolutely beautiful as a finishing salt on any dish or cocktail.
To Your Kitchen
To think that Pink Himalayan Sea Salt has witnessed 250 million years of history to land in a jar in your cabinet is humbling, isn’t it?