From flavoring food to keeping our bodies healthy and balanced, salt plays an important role in all of our lives. In this post we learn about why we use Hawaiian Sea Salt in our Sparkling Noni drinks. We also learn about different kinds of salt, how sea salt is unique from table salt, and the history of sea salt in Hawaii.
At Hawaiian Ola, quality Hawaiian ingredients mean everything to us. The salt we use in our Sparkling Noni juice drinks is harvested from the small island of Molokai, the most sparsely populated island in the inhabited Hawaiian chain. We source our salt from the great people at the Hawaii Kai Company (Kai means ocean in Hawaiian). Sea salt harvested and prepared by Hawaii Kai is certified organic by the USDA, as a natural ocean-occurring mineral.
The Sea Salt harvested from the coast of Molokai is considered to be some of the best in the world.
The salt that comes from Molokai is considered to be some of the best in the world. One reason for this is linked to the purity of Molokai’s pristine coastal waters, where the salt is harvested. Molokai is part of the remote Hawaiian archipelago, which sits at an extreme distance from any nearby landmasses; making it one of the most isolated places in the world. Molokai is also unique in its lack of commercial activity—the island is virtually free of any major polluting industries or harmful run off from conventional agriculture.
At Hawaii Kai, the process for gathering sea salt is a modern take on an ancient system where coastal water is captured and let to evaporate in the warm Hawaiian sun (the west side of Molokai can get especially dry and hot!). Once all the water has been removed, the salt (Pa’akai is the Hawaiian word for salt) is collected and prepared for its final journey to drinkers and chefs throughout the world.
Native Hawaiians have a long history of holding salt in special regard. Salt blended with ‘Alae (native Hawaiian clay) is considered sacred; the combined salt and clay (called Alaea salt) is still used today in religious, sacred, healing, and cleansing practices.
When trading salt with european sailors became more common, Hawaiians adopted a technique for larger scale production. This involved carving out large shallow salt pans where sea water would be let in to evaporate—leaving behind valuable salt crystal deposits. Salt pans were often carved from red (iron-oxide rich) volcanic clay. The salt mixed with the clay during the harvesting process and took on some of the clay’s flavor and color characteristics. The mixture eventually became the iconic Hawaiian Sea Salt that is popular today.
Salt was once the world’s most common form of currency and is where the words sale and salary come from.
In the 19th century Hawaii was the most prominent supplier of salt for the entire pacific northwest. In fact, salt was among the first exported items to leave Hawaii. Today, authentic Hawaiian sea salt has become increasingly popular and equally rare. This has stimulated the price and created a market for countless “me-too” or “look-alike” sellers from China and the US. These sellers market conventional salt as “Hawaiian Sea Salt.” So be on the look out and read labels carefully to make sure you’re getting the real thing.
We know about where the iconic reddish Hawaiian sea salt comes from, but what about all the other kinds of salt we see. Typically, the thing that makes these salts different are additives or other ingredients blended with the salt. Black lava salt, for example, is typically made by adding activated charcoal (usually taken from a volcanic source). Pink Himalayan salt takes its soft peach color from slight iron impurities. Even the white table salt you find in most conventional foods is commonly infused with iodine for a variety of health reasons, mostly related to thyroid regulation.
Different kinds of salts can offer a variety of different health and flavor distinctions that make them great for many uses. The white Hawaiian sea salt that we use in our drinks, for instance, has not been amended with any new ingredients or additives, however it has also not been entirely filtered to remove all impurities. As a result, only about eighty percent of the salt we use is Sodium Chloride (pure salt or NaCl). The other twenty percent is a variety of common ocean-occurring electrolytes and trace minerals.
We added Hawaiian Sea salt to our line of sparkling noni drinks for two important reasons. Taste and health. For taste, salt is great at bringing out the flavor of some of our favorite ingredients, such as pineapple and ginger. Our taste buds are equipped with five sensory areas made for distinguishing flavors, and along with sweet, salt is one of them. Salt has also been shown to reduce bitterness and improve the overall taste of most fruits, including noni!
For health, however, we decided to add sea salt because it is an important electrolyte that needs to be replenished daily. Salt is thought to be the most important electrolyte and is quickly lost during intense workouts and active living. Healthcare professionals say that the average adult needs about 1 tablespoon (1500 milligrams) of salt in their diet per day. Other examples of electrolytes include potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Aside from playing an important role in maintaining healthy nervous and muscle systems, salt also helps balance the bodies PH and regulates hydration.
But what are electrolytes exactly? Without getting into the geeky details, electrolytes are (positively or negatively) charged ions. Sodium (positive) and chloride (negative) make sodium chloride or table salt. When compounds that contain both positively and negatively charged ions are dissolved in liquid that liquid is considered to be electrified. So what do electricity and electrified liquids have to do with the body?
Well everything, really. Our nervous system and muscles are considered electrical systems and are mainly driven by electrical impulses. These impulses are carried throughout the body’s neurons and muscle tissue through, you guessed it, electrified liquids! Without electrolytes, these important systems can not communicate and function as they should, which can lead to a variety of health related problems.
So let’s recap. Hawaiian Ola Sparkling Noni is one of the only drinks of it’s kind infused with organic Hawaiian sea salt. Our sea salt is harvested from the island, Molokai, one of the purest sources in the world. Sea Salt has been an important part of Hawaiian life for centuries and is now used in gourmet cooking everywhere. Not all salt is the same; different varieties contain unique blends of additional ingredients for special flavors and functions. Lastly, we know that aside from making food taste great, salt is an important electrolyte and that our bodies need salt to be replenished daily in order to perform a variety of critical functions.
Phew! Learning is fun; we hope you enjoyed our post. Next time you’re looking for a healthy pick me up at the store, try Hawaiian Ola’s sparkling noni drinks infused with Molokai sea salt. To learn more about Hawaiian sea salt or to order some to try for yourself, check out Hawaii Kai online.
Photo Credit: Hawaiian Salt Pan Via Kauai Stories (http://www.kauaistories.net/)Read More