I recently visited some friends in South Carolina for a lovely getaway. As part of our welcome, they threw us a dinner party where the food was absolutely delicious. Along with the main dishes, there was a tray of sliced melon that provided a sweet contrast to the savory main courses.
This fruit platter was something special though. In the middle of the chunks of melon were small bowls filled with different kinds of salt.
I couldn’t help but wonder why there were all these types of salt on the same tray as fruit?
My friend noticed my confusion and explained that it wasn’t just any old salt – these were gourmet salts meant to enhance the flavor of each slice of melon! Putting salt on melon was a Southern tradition.
I was happy to try them all and found myself marveling at how each type changed the taste experience dramatically. From then on, I knew when it came to fine Southern dining, adding a sprinkle of high-quality salt to melon was certainly a memorable and delicious tradition.
There were 3 choices of salt to sprinkle on the melon on that tray which were:
- Smoked salt from Norfolk, Virginia is one of the best-tasting varieties out there. This unique variety of salt has been around since 1884 and is produced by a company called DeWitt’s.
The salt is carefully smoked over an oak fire before it goes through an aging process that can last up to several weeks. This smoking process gives the salt its characteristic dark color and smoky flavor.
The result is a richly flavored seasoning that complements many dishes perfectly.
- Himalayan pink salt from Pakistan has been prized for its unique flavor, texture, and color since the Himalayan Mountains in the region were first discovered over 250 years ago.
This pale to reddish-pink colored rock salt comes from ancient deposits in Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan. It is harvested by hand by experienced miners who have an intimate relationship with the land and know how to extract this special mineral without disrupting its natural surroundings.
Healthy salt that is not to be compared with iodized table salt
The minerals present in Himalayan pink salt are what make it so special. There are 84 naturally occurring trace elements found in this unique mineral including iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium which give it a beautiful color as well as a distinct flavor that enhances many dishes. It also contains a higher concentration of iodine than its competitors which makes it a beneficial addition to many diets.
In addition to its delicious flavor profile and mineral content, Himalayan pink salt is known for having many health benefits. It can:
Regular consumption of this salt has also been known to help regulate blood pressure and improve digestion due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition with black lava salt being offered as a topping on the melon, it was also used to top our steaks for the main meal. Here’s a picture of my plate 😊.
What makes black lava salt from Hawaii so special?
Black lava salt from Hawaii is a unique, naturally occurring sea salt that has been prized for centuries for its flavor and color. Originating in the Hawaiian Islands, this salt is harvested from an ancient volcano near Hilo and is made up of both sea salt and activated charcoal.
The combination of these two ingredients gives the salt its distinctive black hue as well as a rich, briny flavor profile that makes it highly sought after by chefs around the world.
The mineral content of black lava salt from Hawaii is what sets it apart from other varieties.
- It contains over 80 naturally-occurring trace minerals including:
These minerals give black lava salt its unique flavor profile and health benefits. Not only does this salt have an intense flavor all its own, but it also adds a smoky depth to any dish when used as a finishing touch or in marinades and sauces.
In addition to adding a delicious flavor to your dishes, black lava salt from Hawaii can also:
- help with digestion
- Provide relief from muscle cramps due to its high mineral content.
- help regulate blood pressure
- boost energy levels
- Improve overall mood due to the presence of natural ionic energy present in the salt.
Southerners know that salt and melon are great culinary partners!
As any true Southerner knows, a proper slice of melon isn’t complete without a little sprinkling of salt. But why is that? Well, turns out there’s more to it than just tradition, which can also be varied, like when adding salt to a sweet and savory dish like melon and pepper salad.
Adding salt to melon actually enhances the flavor by bringing out the natural sweetness. It may sound counterintuitive, but trust us, give it a try and you’ll be hooked!
A centuries old tradition
Southerners have been adding salt to their melon for centuries, and there’s a reason why! Some call it salt melon.
Adding salt to melon might sound like an odd combination, but it turns out that Southerners have been doing it for centuries! Some call this salty snack salt melon.
The saltiness brings out the subtle sweetness of the melon and enhances its flavor.
Adding a high quality sea salt also offers an interesting twist of sweet and tangy on the traditional summertime watermelon or cantaloupe for a surprisingly delicious treat.
Why add salt of all things?
Salt helps to bring out the sweetness of the melon and makes it even more refreshing on a hot summer day. But how did this tradition start, and why is it most popular in the American southern states?
It all started in Ancient Egypt
Salt has a long history as a condiment for melons, with records of salt being used as far back as 3,000 BCE in ancient Egypt. This tasty combination is thought to have started in the American south, where salt is plentiful and sweet melons are harvested during the hot summer months.
It is believed that the salt was employed to bring out the sweet flavor of the fruit while adding a savory element to offset its natural sweetness. Many cultures worldwide enjoy this tradition. Adding salt to melon certainly sounds odd, but one bite can unleash an amazing burst of flavor!
Culinary traditions in Central and South America embrace salt melon and salted fruit
Mexican and South American cultures have a tradition of using an array of savory and salty flavors to season their fruits. This way of incorporating salt has roots that date back to the Aztecs, continuing on through generations.
Combining various spices, chili peppers, and lime juice to preserve their food with salt was the go-to method used during the time of the Aztecs, and this flavor combination is still prevalent today among many Latin American communities.
The use of these salty additions gives food a nuanced taste while adding a hint of spiciness; this traditional practice continues to be a prominent part of culture in many countries in both Mexico and South America.
Salt melon is the perfect food for beating the heat
As summer approaches and temperatures increase, salt becomes an effective way to prevent heat-related illnesses. Studies have long suggested that salt consumption can help to prevent dehydration during the highest times of the year.
Eating salt-infused watermelon is an especially great way to cool off as salt encourages more fluid intake, thus increasing your resistance against heat exhaustion. Salt has been used for centuries to battle dehydration and hotter climates, proving just how magical a mineral it really is. Be sure that you are only adding a very small sprinkle of salt, as too much will work the opposite way.
Be adventurous and try different kinds of sea and mineral salts
Salts come in more flavors than just your average table variety; why not get adventurous? Adding these unique gourmet selections below will transform an ordinary snack into something truly special. Your taste buds won’t know what hit them!
Try different salts like:
Your taste buds will thank you!
Concluding thoughts on salt melon
Salt has a long and essential relationship with melon, and it’s no wonder why Southerners have been adding it to their melon for centuries. Not only does the salt help bring out the sweetness of the melon, but it also has many other health benefits.
Salt consumption helps prevent dehydration and maintain an optimum body temperature in hot climates. Plus, sprinkling some gourmet salt is an easy way to upgrade your experience and delight your taste buds. So if you want to make the most of your melon this summer, don’t forget the salt!
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