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Salts of the World

Part 6 of 8

Our next stop is Sicily, Italy where Sale Marino di Trapani (Sea salt of Trapani) is harvested along the coastal pans of Trapani, Paceco and Marsala. Here it is an age-old tradition for local melon and garlic farmers to spend their summers working in the salt pans as harvesters of this indigenous salt. The hot summer climate and low tides make the summers, from July through September, ideal for salt harvesting. Along the coastline they collect tall piles of salt from the pans and large windmills are seen turning in the breeze as they help to dry the salt piles. From there, the salt is shipped and packaged in several grades from fine to coarse and use as an all purpose salt in many regions across Europe.

Sale Marino di Trapani is a white, lower sodium cooking salt that contains higher amounts of potassium and magnesium, which is also a salt listed with the Slow Food Foundation. During the post-war period in the 1960’s, export costs, competition of rock salt mines, and flooding caused a great decline in production and most of the salt pans were abandoned. In the early 1970’s after the abolishment of monopolization was enforced, the pans were cleared and put back into use. Production is still happening today, although modern machinery has been put into practice.

 

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