Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sea Salt from Malta

Sun, sea and salads, ...three of my favourite things about summer. Living in an island surrounded by the sea, it's easy to take its richness for granted. The Mediterranean sea has a long history of trade and one of the items to make cargoes worth fighting for was sea salt. As a traditional product sea salt has lost most of its use here in Malta. The reason being that imported mined salt has been commercially introduced and marketed in supermarkets to a much greater extent. Traditions are very important and loosing this tradition would be a real pity.

As Merill Local Products we have teamed up with traditional salt harvesters who still have this activity at heart. The harvesting and packaging process is carried out by the harvesters while we do marketing of this authentic product. Jars of sea salt are attractively presented in hampers, ideal to give as presents. 

Feel free to visit the Merill Local Products Facebook fan page to find out more about our Eco Hampers.

Marketing the sea salt is definitely just one step towards the revival of this tradition! We are doing our best to create awareness about sea salt harvesting, the hardship behind it and health aspects related to salt. To start this off, we are setting up workshops of salt harvesting. These are being very well received, especially with parents who are enthusiastic about having their kids learn about local traditions.

For more updates about workshops being organised, visit and "Like" our Merill Eco Tours fan page

Here are some interesting facts about salt; 

Salt is a mineral made up of sodium chloride. It has an important role in the human body and its use has an intrinsic history. Too much of it can be harmful to us but a little of it is definitely a must! Sea salt is salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater, and is used in cooking and cosmetics. Generally more expensive than table salt, it is commonly used in gourmet cooking and specialty.

Iodine, a chemical naturally found in the sea is essential for human health. However, rock salt which naturally lacks iodine compounds compared to sea salt, is iodized industrially for use in treatments to prevent goitre and other iodine deficiency syndromes. 

Here are some vital functions of salt in the body:

  • Most effective in stabilising irregular heartbeats and, contrary to the misconception that it causes high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure - in conjunction with water. Naturally, the proportions are critical.
  • Necessary for the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.
  • Essential for balancing the sugar levels in the blood; a needed element in diabetics.
  • An important element to the nerve cells' communication and information processing all the time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death.
  • 27 % of the body's salt is found in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the body. Bones are 22% water. 
  • Essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

References: and

Compiled by Jeanette Borg (31.8.2011)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A Delightful Summer Fruit from Malta

Bambinella Fruit

The Small Malta June Pear, also known as Bambinella, is one of the minor fruits grown in Malta. The shape of this fruit resembles that of a Pear, but is smaller and more round in shape. It's absolutely delicious and would suggest it to anyone with a sweet tooth :) Going price is around 2.50 Euro per pot and are available at fruit and veg vendors. One can also visit the Farmer's Market in Ta' Qali and purchase the fruit directly from the farmers (Tuesdays and Saturdays only).