Clearspring Traditional Sea Salt is sourced from traditional salt basins located in the Natural Reserve Ria Formosa in The Algarve, an area that is geographically ideal for natural sea salt harvesting using salt basins.
Salt harvesting here has a history going back to the Roman era, some 2,000 years ago, and the same ancient methods and simple equipment are still used today. There is no industry in this coastal area on the Atlantic Ocean, and, with sun 250 days of the year, it ideal for good natural drying.
The salt is harvested in June, July and August, depending on the weather, using time-honoured methods. In May the producers begin to flood the basins with seawater at high tide. The saltpans are flooded until the water level reaches 40-50cm over a period of 4-5 days, with water added each day at high tide. It then takes 3-4 days for the water to evaporate in the sun, until approximately 20cm of sea salt remains, and it generally takes 2 weeks to harvest all the sea salt, using wooden rakes.
This procedure is repeated about three times in a season. The current basin has now been in use for more than 100 years, and yields three harvests of around 60 metric tons of traditional, naturally sun dried sea salt each year.
This sea salt has a very clear and whitish colour, but is totally unrefined. The reason for this is that the clay in the area is very hard and light in colour, so the salt does not take on the earthy grey colour that, say, Guerande salts do. The salt has a moisture content of 8%, and a sodium chloride content of around 96%, which is lower than that of table salt, leaving room for other essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
The Fleur de Sel meanwhile, is harvested using special nets with a fine mesh. It is also naturally sun dried, with a sodium chloride content of 92-93%.
These hand harvested sea salts are certified by a Portuguese organic inspection body and licensed under the Soil Association's certified product scheme. We are very pleased to be offering these sea salts, as they are sustainably produced by small-scale producers in a naturally preserved area.
These traditional sea salts are comparable to handcrafted foods, and are very labour intensive. They are quite different to conventional sea salts, which are often harvested by tractors, washed in seawater, and dried at high temperatures.
We are confident that you will appreciate the exceptional quality of these sea salts.