For ages, people have touted the benefits of rubbing their skin with mud from the Dead Sea. That’s one way to have your mineral-rich Dead Sea salt, but thanks to a new Israeli company called Naked Sea Salt, you can eat it too.
The phrase “Naked Sea” may sound familiar. It was the name of a controversial project by Jewish installation artist Spencer Tunick at the Dead Sea in 2011. Tunick, who photographs installations he creates by posing large numbers of naked people in various locations around the world, was trying to bring attention to the environmental crisis facing the Dead Sea. Some 1,200 totally nude individuals participated in the Naked Sea project.
Former hi-tech executive Ari Fruchter took a lead role in producing the project. As he was scouting locations for Tunick’s photo shoot, he came across a salt harvesting operation at the edge of the sea operated by a young Palestinian man, whose family has been in the business since 1964. Fruchter was impressed by the traditional harvesting methods, which preserved the sea’s unique mineral content.
A year later, Fruchter partnered with a food entrepreneur who had been experimenting with various salt and herb mixtures to launch Naked Sea Salts’ line gourmet cooking salts that are harvested through sustainable methods.
While the company is currently raising capital through a Kickstarter campaign, it is offering supporters 15 different salt blend flavors. “Some are more about adding taste, and others, like the black carbon infused Lavastone flavor, are more about aesthetics,” Fruchter says in a conversation with the Jew and the Carrot.
Fruchter likes to season plain rice with the GreenSea seaweed blend and grilled chicken with the spicy Vulcan blend, that features chili and black pepper. He finds that the CoolVine mint and sundried tomato flavor goes well on grilled vegetables, and he uses the salt blended with 24-karat gold flakes as a festive, decorative touch at his Shabbat table. There’s also dill salt and one infused with rosemary.
Fruchter explains that the salt blends, which have kosher certification from two Israeli rabbinical authorities, can be used sparingly. “You don’t need a lot to get a lot,” he notes. You can either cook with them, or add them as a table seasoning at the end.
The entrepreneur is proud that Naked Sea Salts is a social enterprise, with 3% of profits going to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a leading environmental organization committed to water preservation and rehabilitation in the region that has worked with Naked Sea to ensure that its operations will have no significant impact on the Dead Sea’s water levels or surrounding environment. Fruchter also points out that Naked Sea’s sourcing of its product from a Palestinian company promotes regional cooperation and peace.
Fruchter plans to expand the line to a total of 20 different blends later this year, which will be marketed primarily to American consumers, though he and have no plans for mass distribution of their unique blends. Beginning in October, those seeking a little more spice in their life will be able to buy Naked Sea Salt through Abe’s Market, an online natural products marketplace. “We’re going for a high-end, direct touch, boutique approach,” explains Fruchter.
Retail prices for Naked Sea Salt will be $20 for an 8.8 oz. jar, and $15 for a 3.8 oz. refillable grinder.