Salt – April 2001
At Piko we have four kinds of salt. Let's find out about them.
refined solar seasalt fine grade, is from Lake Grassmere south of Blenheim, one of the very few places in New Zealand that can provide the right combination of climate, soil conditions, and high-density sea water needed to produce solar salt.
natural seasalt - coarse grade and natural seasalt - fine grade are also from Lake Grassmere and have a different processing from the 'refined solar salt'.
Our Celtic seasalt is from France. We will find out about that soon.
Piko's 'refined solar seasalt'- fine grade is from Lake Grassmere. It is mechanically lifted from the base of the crystallising ponds. The crystalliser ponds have been formed in an area that was once seabed and the pond bases are
unmodified. The first step in refining is to wash the raw salt in concentrated brine (salt and water).
This removes floating objects like windblown grass, silt from the pond base and fine particulate matter. The washing process also removes most of the non-salt soluble seawater minerals. The washed salt is kiln-dried at 120C to remove additional moisture and kill bacteria. Crushing and sieving operations allow salt of different crystal sizes to be produced for different customer requirements.
The solar refining process used does not include bleaching or cooking/boiling at high temperature.
There are no additives used in this refining process. Salt additives are mixed in after refining and prior to packing.
The salt additive used in Piko,s 'refined solar seasalt'-fine grade is a recognised food additive referred to as an 'anticaking' or 'free-flow agent' (to stop it lumping) called Potassium ferrocyanide.
It is used in small amounts complying with NZ Food Regulations. (It is also used in white wine and rose' production.) In our research, we have not come across any specific problems the way it is used in this salt. Some people would prefer to choose no additives as in the 'NZ Natural seasalt' to be on the safe side.
Piko's 'N.Z. Natural sea salt' means it is unrefined and contains no additives. This is also produced at Lake Grassmere. Piko sells fine and coarse. You will find it on our 'Baking' shelves along with other shop packed food.
This salt is harvested from specific crystalliser ponds, ponds that are known to be high in magnesium. At time of harvest the salt is hand picked to remove extraneous matter (the odd stone from the pond base and windblown grass,
feathers, etc.), kiln dried at 100C to kill bacteria, and crushed on a single pass to yield fine or coarse crystals. Natural salt is not sieved or screened. Soluble seawater minerals are locked into the crystals by drying. This salt does not go through any brine washing process or have anything added to it. Hence the claim to the word 'natural'.
Dominion Salt Ltd (the Lake Grassmere Production) is expecting to obtain Bio-Gro's "organic input" status during this years harvest in March.
Other salt additives you will find in New Zealand made salts are iodine, but the salt must be labelled as iodised. Apparently, iodising was done to prevent thyroid problems but it is controversial because of other side effects of 'speediness'. And silicon dioxide is an anti-caking agent, used in e.g. Saxa, Pams, Cerebas brands of salt. Piko does not stock any of these salts.
This is a short intermission to introduce our new workers. Welcome to Rebecca the dark-haired English gal you will see working at Piko fulltime, and to Megan from Idaho, who has long fair hair and is working with us part-time, one of our valuable relievers. Both are very much enjoying Piko, and we are enjoying their calm personas amidst the organised chaos of Piko!
Whoops, back to the small print again, it must be getting serious. I will try to make it userfriendly.
Now we have gone overseas to the Celtic seasalt from France.This natural light grey salt claims to have many health benefits such as balancing alkaline/acid levels, restores good digestion, relieves allergies, to name a few.
It certainly has a strong, complex taste that is very nice. It contains vital minerals and trace elements undisturbed due to hand-harvesting methods. This is an impressive traditional handpicked, village method.
The Celtic sea salt we buy from France is B.F.A. certified organic (Australian) and tested for radiation. They claim radiation has never been detected in the salt.
Instructions are: one pinch of Celtic sea salt crystals per cup of grain, one – two teaspoons to bean, legumes, soups, and stew - add toward end of cooking time as you do with salt to beans. Can use in bread and pickles.
Mix contents of bag before use.
Store in all-glass container (not metal lids) (because of the 'wetness', apparently the magnesium), in cool place. (not by the stove.)
That's all! Four good choices we believe. You may want to use different salts for different purposes. Some people are not used to the crunchy-ness of unrefined salts.
We also stock an organic herb salt from Germany. The ingredients are: (the same in the Piko - packed as in the shaker) sea salt, thyme, celery, black radish, leeks, lovage, carrots, basil, parsley, dill.
Last but certainly not least is the health-ful kelp. New Zealand is fortunate to have this Biogro certified, pure edible kelp from the waters of the Marlborough Sounds, harvested by hand and sundried on the East Coast of the South
Kelp contains a wide range of essential trace elements beneficial to our bodies. It is claimed to be useful in assisting with elimination of heavy metals, as well as for those who use computers frequently.
Salt – is it good or bad for you?
In the last fifty years a controversy has raged in the West around salt. Most of the evidence is in, and it shows salt to be a true culprit. However, the salt being tested is not the whole salt used for millennia by traditional peoples but the highly refined chemical variety that is 99.5% or more sodium chloride, with additions of anti-caking chemicals, potassium iodide, and sugar (dextrose) to stabilize the iodine.
The average American intake shows a gross overuse. Common refined sea salt has been stripped of nearly all of it's sixty trace minerals.
Perhaps the body craves more in an effort to capture the wholeness that it instinctively knows should be there. Furthermore, a craving for salt is perhaps also a craving for some of the same minerals in unrefined salt that are lacking in chemically grown food.
Sweet food has a beneficial role in reducing the desire for excess salt, such as more subtle sweet foods that also maintain long-term sugar balance.
These are complex carbohydrates, whose complex sugars break down gradually, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. This is one of the Ayurvedic Five Elements considerations.
Some of the benefits of salt are it's clarifying, alkalising, purifying, it has a purifying effect on the vast array of toxic residues in food and the environment; and centering qualities.
Our desire for salt may reflect an internal wish for a more emotionally safe foundation, particularly in a modern society characterized by tremendous change and uncertainty. Paul Pitchford discusses salt from Eastern and Western perspectives, and is well worth reading for this balanced perspective, and if you are interested in your own salt balance and/or have kidney imbalance, high blood pressure, edema.
Reactions to salt vary greatly from from one individual to the next. Problems arise when too much salt is consumed for one's own tolerance level – especially in it's refined form. Except when used therapeutically, salt should enhance, not dominate, the flavour of food; if food tastes salty, too much salt is being used.
This newsletter has been researched and written by Shelley, with information provided by:
Celtic Salt Imports;
Ceres Enterprises Ltd.;
Dominion Salt Limited;
Naturally New Zealand Seaweeds;
Pitchford, Paul 'Healing With Wholefoods' - available for reference at Piko; 'The New Additive Codebreaker'.
New organic G.E. Free T.V.P. has just arrived.
The 'Lite Bar' gluten and dairy Free, made in Australia. Apricot and 'Fruit filled'. $2.67 a bar. G.E. Free.
'Carobbean Bars 'added sugar' free., made in Australia. Ingredients: carob, skim milk, vege.oil, sultanas, peanuts, soy lethicin. $1.94 a bar. G.E. Free.
'Green and Black' English organic chocolate in orange and dark flavours. $6.67.
And to balance the snack talk...
Fruit and vege have been looking good this summer. Snack on a beautiful Gala apple before they all get cool-stored again for the winter, only $1.27 a kilo at present, and certified organic too.
Local, certified organic mushrooms continue to arrive fresh on Mondays.
Eggs are in short supply at present sorry folks. They come in on Tuesdays and are selling out in a few days. The farmer is expanding their flock?
Gang? Chook family... and we have decided to wait for this as prices for the same quality, certified eggs elsewhere are almost double.
Channa and Urid dhal's are now available in the open sack – non organic, and when we can get them, organic.
New Breads Pan Italia organic Ciabatta Fridays.
Baker Boys organic sliced wholemeal – Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Easter Buns are starting to come in from Breadman- note these are made with local Dinkel flour, and are soft and delicious.
Purebread and Dovedale are also sending Easter buns.
Happy shopping and Happy Easter to you.