Fleur de sels is a salty salt which forms as a delicate, thin crust on the exposed surface of sea water when it evaporates slowly. Fleur de sels has existed since ancient days, and was traditionally used as both a salve and a purifier. It’s most common use today is as an after-salve to garnish and flavor food, as well as in the manufacture of deodorant products. The salt’s ability to absorb odors gives fleur de sel the ability to neutralize unpleasant odors in the air. This quality enables it to be used for a variety of purposes.
When fleur de sel is used as an antiseptic for pools and bodies of water, the salt acts as an excellent disinfectant. Sea water, lakes and ponds all become replete with bacteria that breed in the body of water and pollute its surroundings. This bacterium is usually killed by ordinary chlorine based swimming pool disinfectants, but fleur de sel can neutralize these naturally occurring bacteria. Furthermore, the fine crystals formed by this natural reaction also kill harmful microorganisms that may be invisible to the eye.
Fleur de sels is also an antiseptic for the skin. The fine crystals formed when the evaporation process occurs are ideal for making into a facial mask, which can be used to treat acne, eczema and other dermatological problems. It can also be used topically to treat various burns and wounds. Using fleur de sel as a topical ointment is a better choice than using regular salt for this purpose, as regular salt will only leave an oily residue on the skin.
Fleur de sels are also a better alternative to regular table salt because it contains no iodine, which causes a rise in the sodium content of our body fluids. Since the crystals formed during the evaporation process are made of salts, they contain relatively low amounts of sodium. Table salt contains almost twice as much sodium as fleur de sel. Moreover, fleur de sel contains only trace amounts of iodine. This makes it ideal for use on pregnant women, as well as those with thyroid problems or other chronic conditions that affect the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine. It has no effect on children’s blood pressure levels and it has been safely used in clinical trials.
There are two basic ways in which fleur de sel works. In the first, evaporation takes place through contact with the seawater. The particles of evaporated seawater are carried away by high tides, carried into landfills, and then ultimately deposited on land or in other places where they will decompose. As a result, the fleur de sel crystals are released into the air, where they react with air-borne bacteria in the atmosphere to form a slippery salt residue. Because of this reaction, the fleur de sel crystals are considered more effective mosquito repellent than traditional mosquito nets or insecticides like mosquitoes repellent.
The second method involves slow evaporation using dew point. High temperatures cause the evaporation of liquids and the salts in them. Dew point is the maximum temperature that water can reach; therefore, sea water is naturally very hot. However, sea water is extremely dense, as well as heavy. As a result, the salt crystals are unable to escape even in cases where there is a huge build up of atmospheric pressure over the ocean.
A dew point monitor is used in such cases. It looks like a thermometer, but works on principles similar to those used in refrigerators. With an infrared light source, it measures the temperature of the sea water. As the temperature rises, the crystal evaporates, thus releasing its water into the air. However, because it only measures sea water, it does not measure the average temperature of the atmosphere over the sea.
In order for fleur de sel to work, it needs to be a humid environment. The evaporation of salt pans must also take place at relatively high temperatures. These conditions exist in areas along the Atlantic coast, where salty water tends to evaporate quickly and steeply. Areas closer to the beach, on the other hand, tend to have warmer temperatures, which allow evaporation to occur more slowly.