Sea salt is sea water that has been processed and made into salt. It's used for food, seasoning, cosmetics, and for the preservation of food. It's also sometimes called sandstone salt, sunflower salt, or sea sand.
Like mined rocks, kosher salt has been traced back to prehistoric days. Evidence shows that primitive man used it to preserve food. As farming became more common on the land, people learned to use sea salt to flavor their grains.
Prehistoric humans used the sea to dry their meat. They'd hang dried meat over the seaweed in a tree. Sea salt was added to the meat as it dried to preserve it longer. Other meat they dried with sea salt included fish and shellfish. Their diet may have also included small animals that lived in the sea.
Early civilizations used sea salt as well. In India, clay pots were filled with sea salt. The clay was then painted with bright colors. These pots are still found in India. They may also be found in China and other parts of the world.
Ancient peoples used sea salt to preserve bread, fish, and other meat. This allowed the meat to stay fresh longer, which is very important during the coldest periods of the year. The bread was also baked with this sea salt mixture. Fish and shellfish were preserved by drying out the skin and bones. Some even had vinegar poured over them as an added preservative.
Sea salt also was used to prepare tea. In some areas, tea was mixed with sea salt. It was often served hot in a ceramic pot. Other places put tea inside a shallow glass dish of sea salt to serve as drinking water. These "sea salt tea" are still available today in some regions.
During the early civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, sea salt was added to the water to help preserve milk and butter. The milk or butter would then be added to the cakes and bread soups. In Greece, salt was used to make wine. The best time to make wine was at the height of the Mediterranean climate, which lasted from late spring to late fall.
In many early civilizations, sea salt was used as well to make white paint called "palm juice". This is the same substance that we now use to make lemonade and other citrus drinks. Ancient Egyptians used sea salt for making perfume. In the middle ages, salt was used to preserve wheat. They also used it for medicinal purposes.
Greeks and Romans used sea salt to make wine. The grapevines they used were grown in their vineyards near the coast of the Mediterranean. The vines were not just for making wine, but also for making food, cheese, and salt.
Ancient people also used sea salt for cooking. Many ancient recipes called for sea salt as an ingredient. Salt was used in Greek cooking, even when the olive oil was the main cooking ingredient. The salt is actually the main cooking agent in olive oil, and it does a wonderful job of absorbing the flavors of the foods that it is cooked in. A recipe made with olive oil called for two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of water and stirred until the salt dissolves and the oil is dissolved in the water.
In addition, the salt in olive oil also was a preservative and was also used for cleaning. They would sprinkle the salt over dishes after cooking to keep it from getting too old and dirty. In Europe, olive oil was used as an ingredient in salad dressings and dishes, as a marinade, and also in desserts.
Sea salt has also been used for a wide variety of different purposes. Sea salt was used by the Chinese for many centuries as a preservative for food preparation. The Japanese used sea salt as a way to soften the cheese. In fact, it has even been said that the Japanese used sea salt for cooking and eating to make their sushi.
Ancient Greeks also used sea salt for cleaning their clothes. Because of the high salt content of their clothing, salt was used to cleanse dishes. As you can see, ancient people took advantage of the natural properties of sea salt and used it in so many ways. It is still a part of the human diet and continues to be used today in a variety of ways.