Fleur de sels are flat pear shaped disks that are heated to a boil, then strained and stored in a dry container. Fleur de sels were first gathered centuries ago as an salty cure, and has recently been widely used in many culinary recipes around the world. Fleur de sels comes in two varieties – coarse and fine. Cound fleur de sels are more salty than fine fleur de sels, but both varieties taste the same. They are harvested from natural sources and are harvested and processed as food grade sodium chloride.
Fleur de sels are made from seawater, which is one of the toughest natural materials. The harvesting of fleur de sel must be done from the shore, usually off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. During the harvesting process the salt is placed in a container called a fleur de sel, which is like a large pressure container. The containers are frequently opened so that the fleur de sel does not turn or settle down during shipping.
As the harvesting of fleur de sel takes place, the water evaporates from the ocean, taking with it any dissolved solids and chemicals along with it. As the water evaporates, the salt crystals are collected along the edge of the evaporated seawater. They are then taken to a purification plant, where they are washed, distilled, stripped of their salt, and crystallized into salt beads for sale to cooks.
While the fleur de sel is naturally salty, it is often blended with other ingredients in order to reduce its taste or enhance its flavor. In many cases, this salt can become de-naturalized, losing its flavor and sometimes even its smell, when heated. Some salts will continue to retain their flavor even when heated, however. Fleur de sels have also been blended with various herbs and sea salts in order to create a variety of flavors, ranging from mild to very salty.
Salt pots are another method of preserving fleur de sel, though the method used here is somewhat different than the fleur de sel that is harvested from the ocean. The fleur de sel is harvested by scooping up the water evaporating from the ocean and dropping the formed beads into a vat, which is filled with water. This process leaves behind a salty residue on the bottom of the pot. These salty beads are separated out and sold to restaurants. While they can still retain some flavor, it is no longer the salty taste of the ocean. These vats of salty water can be used in salt pans for preserving foods as well.
Another method of preservation involves using freshwater to freshen up fleur de sel before it is harvested. This method does not use the ocean’s salty water content, but instead uses distilled water, which has significantly less moisture content than the ocean. Once harvested, these crystals are placed in an airtight container, often made of glass, and sealed. The temperature and time necessary to preserve the fleur de sel depends on both the size of the crystal and its moisture content.
Many of the salts used to make fleur de sel will preserve their flavor for up to three years when kept at room temperature. As soon as they are opened, however, the salty taste will begin to dissipate. If they are stored in an environment with the right humidity, they will maintain their flavor for longer, but will lose their crunch after a few months. To preserve their appearance, these crystals should be frozen after harvesting.
Salt is one of the easiest ingredients to use in cooking or baking, which is one of the reasons it is commonly used in cooking. But when fleur de sel is made, it goes through a more complicated process. These delectable salty crystals are not created through evaporation like other types of table salt, but rather by the process of dehydration. Although there are many other types of salts that can be used to bring out the flavor in foods, evaporation salts are among the most versatile.