Turning the sea into edible salt is more time-consuming and laborious than you might think, as this video from Eater's series How to Make It taught us.
Eater's video team and chef Katie Pickens learned all about salt from Amagansett Sea Salt, a company that hand-harvests salt from the coast of Long Island. Pickens and Steve Judelson, her salt guide from Amagansett, collected 100 gallons of ocean water, using buckets to haul it in from the shallows.
Then, they drove it to the Amangansett facilities to filter and dry it. The salty water must be filtered several times to rid it of sediment and other floating objects and organisms you might not want to add to your food. But not all of the algae and plankton in the water get eliminated—some of that stuff actually improves the salt's taste. “That’s where a lot of the flavor comes from,” Judelson says.
Next, the filtered salt water is laid out to dry on long, covered beds in a field. In the summer, it takes about three weeks for the salt to crystalize and be ready to harvest, while in the winter, it might take as long as three months.
Watch the magic in the video below.