Fleur de sels are salty cured meat from a sea creature known as the Sea Urchins. The animal is part of the plankton family, along with sharks, rays, snails and octopuses. It is carnivorous and the fish grows to be over 2 meters long. This article covers the history of fleur de sel and how to buy quality fleur de sel online.
Fleur de sel is best described as a variety of dried marine-based salt produced in France. It is commonly used as a flavoring or seasoning in recipes all over the world including the United States. Fleur de sel is a special variety of sea salt commonly known for its delicate salty taste and smooth texture, much like mescaline. Unlike regular table salt, sea salt is produced by the slow evaporation of salty water. The resulting crystal salts are then treated with iodine and calcium thioglycolate to help prevent bacterial growth.
Fleur de sel has a unique crystalline structure that is rare in nature. Its color ranges from transparent light browns to deep blues, white and even green shades. Its texture is very smooth and porous, not having that fine grainy feel of regular table salts. Its color and flavor make it very pleasant, almost like a dessert flavor, although its crunchiness is not as rich as some seawater varieties.
In addition to its soft and velvety texture, fleur de sel also has a light, nutty flavor. Its flavor is often described as follows:” Crispy and salty, almost like chips. Very different from the ocean.”
During the evaporation process of fleur de sel water evaporates at a constant rate of about 0.7 kilometers per second. As this process takes place, the crystal structure of the salt forms new patterns in the water, creating unique textures that cannot be found in any other form of salt. Some salts have the ability to change into different textures, including hazy white, cloudy white or even frosty white. Because of this unique ability, fleur de sel has become known in the culinary world as a salty alternative to regular table salt.
In addition to its unique texture, fleur de sel is also known for producing its own humidity. It can maintain the right humidity for food during the drying process and can extend the shelf life of certain products. This means that sea salt beds and the sea water surrounding them can in some cases be used as alternative to table salt for cooking and baking.
The evaporation process of fleur de sel is also what allows it to collect fleur de sel dust. As the water evaporates, the salt crystals collect on the bottom of the container, becoming full of tiny salt beads. As these tiny beads fall to the bottom of the container, they mix with air and begin to float. The surface tension of the water in the container also helps to hold these beads to the top of the container. As this process continues, small sea animals such as microscopic crabs, crustaceans and fish also collect on the floating fleur de sel beads.
Like all sea salts, fleur de sel is excellent for salt treatment and as a table salt alternative. It provides an alternative to normal table salt that does not have the bland flavor associated with other types of table salts. However, it is not as beneficial to cooking or baking like regular table salts. Its texture is somewhat coarse, making it inappropriate for applications where its use is needed to be subtle such as in recipes. For this reason, it is best to use fleur de sel for cooking and baking, but using regular table salt as a garnish is still fine.