Imagine hiking the Inca trail - From 9000 to 15,000 to 8000 feet above sea level. On the second day of your journey you come across one of the most amazing sites in the world near the town of Ollantaytambo - Salt Ponds high in the Andes mountains. Well I paid about 25 cents and brought a bag back... and used it all up!
Once it was gone.. It became a mission of mine to get this flavorful salt for my customers - and at last - I procured more.
This salt has low levels of sodium chloride. Peruvian salt also contains calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium, making it a perfect medicinal option for skin conditions and to treat swelling.
Flavor your meals with this salt after you’re done the cooking, since it loses its medicinal properties in temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius.
Here's a little about the Ponds -
The salt ponds were built in AD200-AD900 by the Chanapata culture, pre-dating the Incas. The terraces are known in Quechua as Kachi Raqay and they’re situated at at an elevation of 9800 feet above sea level. There’s about 5,000 ponds, each belonging to a local family (the size of the pond relative to the family size), while some remain unused. It was used to supply the entire Inca Empire as well as the Viceroyalty of Peru. But how did it all start? Usually, salt ponds form near the ocean, meaning Maras was once covered by one. Each pond is usually 5 meter square and have a 30 cm depth. An ancient spring water canal called Qoripujio feeds the ponds through a network of slimmer channels that cross the complex, so when keepers want to fill theirs, all they must do is open a notch to allow the salty water to come in. Once the pond is full, keepers leave it to dry in the arid Andean weather until the spring water evaporates completely. After its all dried up, the scraping of the pink salt crust begins.