Natural sea salts are nothing new, of course. They’ve been around forever. By contrast, white table salt is but a blink of the eye in the history of salt production, and began with Morton’s 1910 addition of anti-caking agents to salt.
Unrefined sea salts, which are are produced in the way agricultural crops are: their beds are managed and tended, the salt is harvested when ready, and minimally processed.
This “tending” or progressive concentration of the sea water can take up five years. Unrefined salt like this is not washed of their coating of minerals, algae and salt-tolerant bacteria. It is therefore important that these salts come from unpolluted sea water sources. Some salts are labeled “organic” to indicate their purity.