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A bamboo salt container stores sea salt. On burning, it infuses the salt with bamboo oil.

Asia is the hotbed of many ancient practices that have impeccable scientific and medicinal applications even today. Historical accounts have astonishing amounts of information that detail processes so intensive and meticulous, and some countries have managed to keep those traditions and methods alive even today. One of these practices is bamboo salt.

Salt is the most important ingredient of any dish, and the one thing that must never be in short supply any where in the world. Asians are perhaps the only ones who ascribe an additional use to this seasoning agent by harvesting it from rather unlikely sources. Bamboo salt is an artificially crafted salt but it is extremely effective in maintaining health and well-being.

The craft originated in Korea, where bamboo grows abundantly as it is believed to be a sign of prosperity. Bamboo has certain properties that aid oral health, digestion, and even prevent cancer. The Koreans came up with a method to use the essence of this plant in their food, and they incorporate it through salt.

Fresh sea salt is gathered and placed into bamboo hollows. This bamboo is cut in such a way that it resembles a tall glass, with one end covered. The tightly packed salt in the bamboo casing is subjected to high heat where the outer covering burns away, and a stump of salt is left. This process is repeated nine times. During the ninth incineration, heat of nearly 1,000 °C is applied. The entire process takes anywhere from a month to forty-five days.

A bamboo forest where bamboo is harvested to make the famous purple salt Image source: wikimedia commonswikimedia commons

The process is labor-intensive, and done manually. The heating allows the filtration of microplastics from the sea salt, and infuses it with the oil of the bamboo. In the end, a purple salty column is left, which is broken into pieces and sold. A kilogram can cost up to $200.

The salt that is baked twice is used in traditional medicine to cure a range of diseases, while the nine-times roast is used to flavour food, and in toothpastes and soap. Its high mineral content has been thoroughly researched. It also has low toxicity. The bamboo lends the salt a mild yolky flavor but despite the burning, it does not get bitter. In India, this salt is sold in small rocky chunks.

Keywords: Purple Salt, Bamboo, Korea, Asia, Medicine


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