Traditionally, ancient Japanese produced salt-ash. They produced it by spreading seaweed on the beach to dry between storms, rinsing the plants in an isolated saltwater pool, and then boiling the brine with bits of remaining seaweed in a clay pot over a wood fire to evaporate the water, crystallize the salt, and reducing the seaweed pieces to ash. This salt-ash mixture, Moshio, became the staple salt of the region.
Today the production of ancient Moshio continues. The best one, Amabito No Moshio, comes from Kamagari Bussan using more modern methods of production. Unpolluted salt water is collected from the Seto-uchi Inland Sea and left in a large pool to stand for a while, evaporating some of the water and concentrating the salt solution. Hon’dawara seaweed is then added to the salt water to infuse its flavor and color, as well as some minerals, including iodine.
After some time, the seaweed is removed and the salt water is transferred to and cooked in a large iron pot until it gradually begins to crystallize, becoming a mass resembling a chunky sherbet. This is then put into a centrifuge to extract more water. The last step in the process is to cook the salt mass in a large pot over an open fire, stirring continuously with a large wooden paddle. This removes almost all moisture and the salt becomes tiny, free-flowing granules.
Moshio Ancient sea salt has a unique beige color and its flavor is round and rich due to the ample presence of minerals and other chemicals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iodine and rich umami flavor.
Amabito No Moshio’s unique color and delicious flavor is a perfect condiment to traditional Japanese fare such as tempura, sushi, sashimi or grilled seafood and meat. Add it to soups, braised dishes or simmered dishes, whether Japanese or Western style. Anything that requires salt will surely benefit from the natural sea minerals and rich umami flavor from the hon’dawara seaweed.