One of the fun things we did this weekend was to go for a bike ride along the east shore of the San Francisco Bay. We had not ridden in the area before so we were off exploring. We had no idea what we might find but we figured it would be the coolest place in the area as the temps considered hitting near-record highs.
Along the route, we saw beautiful rock formations along the coast, a variety of seabirds starting to arrive from the north feeding in the shallow waters, and dainty plants and flowers that have adapted to flourish in the tidal marshes. One of my favorite sightings though was the interesting landscapes that resulted from the evaporation of sea salt in the tidal mudflats. The vivid blues of the sea and sky were outlined by the bright, white crystals of salt that have naturally evaporated on the grey mud flats. The whole scene felt like I was standing amidst some impressionist master’s painting using a dappled palette of blue sky, white salt and accents of red, green and white marsh plants. Just stunning!
Down the road a bit from these natural salt flats is the industrial salt operation that utilizes this same process of evaporation by sun and wind to extract the salt from the sea. It is a multi-year process as they move sea salt from one pond to the next, gradually achieving higher and higher salinity, until the crystals are ready for harvesting.
Knowing that it is the exact same sea salt whether it is created by the natural elements or man’s controlled environment, I took to trying a taste of the crusty white outline from nature’s landscape. Yum! What an intense salt flavor with hints of the minerals found in the area.
Now I am one of those people who always is drawn toward the salty snack rather than the sweet one so tasting sea salt is right up my alley. In fact, a highlight of a foodie meal we had at a fine restaurant with friends years ago was a ‘salt course’ in which we got to try six different sea salts from different parts of the world, but more about that some other time. Today I am just pleasantly surprised by a beautiful bike ride that came with the added pleasure of an edible treat along the way. I wonder…if I take home a bucket of sea water, can I evaporate it down at home? This salt is good stuff! I would love to make more. Have any of you ever been successful in such a quest? Feel free to comment if you have. I would love to know.