Spice Journey: Pink Himalayan Sea Salt327
with Ariana Cuadra
Savory Spice Team
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. A large quantity of that is exported worldwide. To this day, traditional methods are used to harvest the salt—stone cutters have passed down their techniques from generation to generation of workers in the mine. The salt is mined using the room and pillar method, extracting 1500 tons of rock salt daily. It is named the room and pillar method because 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.
What does it taste like?
You would be hard-pressed to detect any major taste differences between Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and regular table 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 just to land in a jar in your cabinet is humbling, isn’t it?
Cooking on Himalayan Salt Blocks
One of the most popular uses of Pink Himalayan Salt is actually as a cooking block. This unique cookware is a creative and tasty way to use Himalayan salt in your kitchen.
To heat, simply place in a cold oven, on the stove, on the grill, or under the broiler. For all heating methods, let the salt plate come up to temperature slowly. If you wish, you can remove the Himalayan salt brick then cook on it, as it holds heat for a long time.
Ideal for cooking fish, shrimp, scallops, Kobe beef, poultry, portobellos, peppers, kabobs, potato wedges, and just about anything else you enjoy with a little hint of salt. The food will cook evenly and quickly, and will be seasoned as it cooks.
To learn more about this cooking method and for over 70 fabulous salt block recipes, we recommend Salt Block Cooking by best-selling author and salt expert Mark Bitterman.
What other spices would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below!