At the Velddrift Salt Works the pristine sea brine is extracted from a unique Aquifer, on the shores of St.Helena Bay, where the sea water filters through beds of sand and shell, providing additional calcium, and pumped into a series of pans where the salt concentration increases as it moves from pan to pan. Once it nears saturation point a small amount is pumped to the specials pans constructed for Khoisan Trading’s sea salts. These pans can be taken apart or constructed within two weeks and the number of pans in use varies according to orders.
This pure brine has a most distinctive and memorable taste.
Hand harvesting for the general sea salt is usually done twice a week. Staff use long handled rakes and stainless steel mesh skimmers, bending over the shallow rectangular pools of seawater, dense with salt, drawing the crystals to the sides of the pans.
For “Fleur De Sel”, the cream of the saltpan, the employees skim the sheets of white mica-like crystals from the water of the small pans and lay them gently in trays to dry in the sun. These neonate crystals, shaped like large glittering dragonfly wings, float only for a few hours and must be skimmed quickly and daily, before they precipitate to the bottom.
Thereafter these thin sheets sink and harden to Khoisan’s Sea Salt Flakes which are scooped out before they dissolve into the next stage of salt making, large hard crystals which are used in grinders and shakers – either used as Traditional Plain or in Khoisan’s flavoured varieties such as Seaweed Salt (originated by Khoisan Trading in 2000), Tomato & Olive Sea Salt and other spiced varieties.
Along the sides of the salt pans, driven by the strong, hot winds, the salt is rolled into perfectly formed rock-hard little pearls know as Khoisan’s Caviar, unique and rare with a delicate, crisp taste sensation.
The bottom layer of the salt pans are left untouched and as a result the traditional Khoisan Sea Salt, Fleur de Sel, Caviar and Flakes are of an unparalleled whiteness. After the sea salt has been placed in gauze lined baskets to dry in the sun, it is delivered to Khoisan’s Factory where it is readied for sale. All our varieties of sea salt are unrefined and packaged straight from the pans with their mineral content intact.
Khoisan also offers salt from larger pans which have been harvested using tractor and loaders. Any impurities are washed out using brine water. This salt is then dried, sorted , sieved and packed for clients wanting a cheaper salt and who take big volumes.