You want to make what?
By Amy Machnak, Sunset food writer

As a former chef, I have embarked on some strange food experiments in the kitchen over the years. However, when our food editor, Margo True, asked me to try and make salt from ocean water for our one-block feast, I thought the idea was completely ludicrous. Then, after some thought, curiosity got the best of me. Could it be done? How much water would it take? How much salt would this actually yeild?

My first problem was logistics. How was I, who hasn’t owned a car in 8 years, suppose to get to the ocean, find a clean patch of it, and bring back a few gallons of ocean water?
I did what any intelligent, independent, and resourceful young woman would do; I called my boyfriend.

My boyfriend, also a chef, thought my plan was, for lack of a better word, silly. Fortunately, he is also a free diver and loves any and all excuses to shimmy into his wetsuit and enter the oceanic food chain. I handed him a few of our plastic jugs left over from our olive oil adventures and off he went.

In this case, we were lucky it hadn’t rained in a while, as rain causes runoff from the land and makes the water murky, not to mention contributing unwanted contaminants. He went to a small cove called Bean Hollow, near Pescadero, swam out about 100 yards, and filled up our jugs.

I have 20 gallons of lovely Pacific Ocean water. Other than a little sand at the bottom of the containers, the water seems crystal clear. Now I need to figure out how to extract the salt from the water. Or I guess separate the H20 from the NaCl (wow, I guess I’m glad I took that chemistry class). Evaporation seems the best way to start. Unless anyone has a better suggestion? Anyone?

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