Wild Recipes

How to Make Your Own Sea Salt

Latest posts by Katie Wiley (see all)
4.6 from 9 votes

It’s 2024 and I’m starting this year with a recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for quite sometime – sea salt! Thankfully here on the Oregon coast we’re never far from the one and only ingredient needed to make it and that’s sea water. 

Sea salt is an amazing mineral that our bodies simply cannot live without. Salt is crucial for our nervous system to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including those in the heart and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance. 

Throughout time, salt has been a greatly appreciated exchange commodity, so much so that the “salt routes” were born all over the world, through which merchants transported and sold salt in countries where it was not produced. Salt was even used as currency in China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and many other cultures because it was a relatively scarce commodity, which also made it difficult to counterfeit, causing it to have great value. In fact, the phrase “worth its weight in salt” reflects the historical value placed on this essential mineral and as early as the 6th century, in the sub-Sahara, Moorish merchants routinely traded salt ounce for ounce for gold. 

Then there’s salt’s incredible ability to preserve by permeating food and making bacterial life impossible. Although it is not known when salt preservation first began, we do know it was used in Egypt by at least 2000 BC. and was a founding contributor to the development of civilization. Salt helped eliminate dependence on seasonal availability of food, and made it possible to transport food over large distances.

So if salt is such a highly valuable commodity, that our bodies require to function why are we not just making it ourselves? Perhaps because the process seems intimidating. After all, it did take me far longer to actually try this salt-making process for myself than I’d like to admit, but now that I have, I can confidently say that I’ll never go back to store-bought salt again! 

Alsea Bay Sea Salt 

Step-by-step guide to making your own sea salt. 

Items you’ll need: 

  • Sea water (I used two gallons of bay water which yielded 1 1/4 cups salt) 
  • Coffee filter 
  • Stockpot 
  • Mason jar or airtight container for your finished sea salt 

Step one: Gather your sea water. 

For this process, I actually used bay water from the Alsea Bay because there was a sneaker wave warning in effect and I felt the ocean wasn’t safe to wade out in so I decided the bay would be a much safer option. 

I used two clean gallon milk jugs to gather my sea water but you could use just about anything for this step. 

Step two: Filter your sea water to remove any sand and debris. 

For this process I just used a coffee filter to run my sea water through and it worked perfectly. I simply held the coffee filter over my stockpot and ran the bay water through it, trapping all of the sand and debris in the filter. 

Step three: Bring sea water to a boil and allow it to evaporate.

For two gallons of bay water this process took about 4 hours from start to finish. 

For this process, I began boiling my sea water on high until it reduced by about 3/4, occasionally stirring. 

Once I began to see salt crystals forming at the bottom of my pot I reduced the heat to medium and began stirring more frequently so I didn’t scorch my salt. 

When there was about 1” water left in my pot I reduced the heat again to medium-low and kept stirring every few minutes to release the salt from the bottom so it wouldn’t burn. 

Once most of the water had evaporated, I reduced the heat to low and continued to stir my salt until it was completely dried out. This  step required a little attention and patience but once it was dry and resembled regular salt I knew it was finished. 

Step four: Store in an airtight container. 

Once the salt reaches a certain concentration, it’s impossible for living bacteria to grow on it so this salt should last for as long as it takes you to enjoy it! 

Enjoy just as you would any regular table salt. 


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How to Make Your Own Sea Salt

Recipe by Katie Wiley
4.6 from 9 votes
Course: Wild Recipes
Servings

0

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

4

hours 
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • Sea water (I used two gallons of bay water which yielded 1 1/4 cups salt)

  • Coffee filter

  • Stockpot

  • Mason jar or airtight container for your finished sea salt

Preparation

  • Gather your seawater. I used two clean gallon milk jugs to gather my sea water but you could use just about anything for this step. 
  • Filter your seawater to remove any sand and debris. For this process, I just used a coffee filter to run my seawater through and it worked perfectly. I simply held the coffee filter over my stockpot and ran the bay water through it, trapping all of the sand and debris in the filter. 
  • Bring seawater to a boil and allow it to evaporate. For two gallons of bay water this process took about 4 hours from start to finish.  For this process, I began boiling my sea water on high until it reduced by about 3/4, occasionally stirring. Once I began to see salt crystals forming at the bottom of my pot I reduced the heat to medium and began stirring more frequently so I didn’t scorch my salt. When there was about 1” water left in my pot I reduced the heat again to medium-low and kept stirring every few minutes to release the salt from the bottom so it wouldn’t burn.  Once most of the water had evaporated, I reduced the heat to low and continued to stir my salt until it was completely dried out. This step required a little attention and patience but once it was dry and resembled regular salt I knew it was finished. 
  • Store in an airtight container. Once the salt reaches a certain concentration living bacteria can’t grow on it so this salt should last for as long as it takes you to enjoy it!

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Katie Wiley

Katie Wiley, also known as The Kitchen Wild has a strong drive to share with the world how simple, fun, and delicious foraging for wild foods can be. She calls the picturesque central Oregon coast home, and lives only a short walk from the Pacific Ocean and Alsea Bay so she’s never far from some of the most delicious and fun-to-gather foods on the planet. Whether she’s pulling up pots of Dungeness crab, catching crawfish with her bare hands or raking for cockle clams she always has her husband and three children right by her side on these adventures and hopes to inspire you to do the same.

One thought on “How to Make Your Own Sea Salt

  • Amanda Saunders

    What is your take on mercury levels in our ocean water? Have you done any studies on the salt you make to find out if it’s high in mercury? Or other heavy metals?

    Reply

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