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SALT PANS - SALT

The Salt, one of the vital elements of our planet, is found in abundance in nature in a solid state, dissolved in sea water and in the water of some lakes. It is one of the oldest chemical compounds discovered by human, but it remains unknown how and when the first growers discovered the sources of salt. Since the planet's salt reserves are unlimited, their detection did not seem to be difficult by observing the behavior of the animals.

The well-known natural or cooking salt is the chemical compound sodium chloride (NaCl) and is a key component of the human diet. Sodium chloride is a crystalline solid, odorless with a characteristic salty taste. It is a very important ingredient for humans, because it meets the normal requirements and salt hunger and is the most important flavoring substance in food. Its status as a food preservative has imposed its widespread and imperative use on humanity, giving it significant weight and influence. Its presence and contribution to the preservation of life on the planet have been closely linked to religion, politics, economics, industry, chemistry, pharmacology, medicine, art and culture in general.

Messolonghi is justifiably the salt city of Greece, since around the city, is the second largest wetland in the whole European Mediterranean Sea with an average depth of 80 cm. In its wider area, during the Hellenistic era, there was - according to Stravonas - a beach called "Komi" whose first component of its name refers to salt, "Alikyrna".

Since the geomorphological conditions of the area, it was normal from ancient times, this tradition to be transformed into the naturally intensified production process of formation and collection of "white gold" in the area of SALT PANS.

The salt pans are semi-artificial coastal ecosystems, unique in terms of their architecture. Their principle of operation is based on the simultaneous use of four elements: seawater, as a raw material, on relatively impermeable clay soils, and solar energy, which along with wind energy favor the evaporation and crystallization of the salt. The construction of a productive salt pan in a place presupposes, according to the above, the following physical characteristics: a) the availability of a large coast and relatively flat area characterized by suitable soil of low permeability and b) the existence of meteorological conditions that favor the negative balance. i.e., intense evaporation and low rainfall during the growing season.

Today in Messolonghi there are two salt pans, Tourlida and "Aspri". "Aspri" is the largest in Greece, occupies an area of ​​1240 hectares with an ideal topographic layout and very small altitude differences, resulting in the coverage of the entire area with a shallow layer of brine, so that limited energy is required to pump water. Sea salt is referred to in the literature as solar salt (solar salt) and is the main component of seawater. It is produced under the influence of the sun and the wind on the sea water. Specifically, the crop circle begins in March and usually ends in late October depending on the meteorological conditions of each year. The water evaporates in successive artificial rectangular shallow basins, known as “alopigia” or pans. In Greek salt pans the crystallization process begins in April. In September, the "pans" are drained of the remaining brine and the crystallized salt is received.

The collection is completed through harvesting machines, that collect the salt in strips, which is placed in conveyor belts and deposited in a self-propelled salt silo in order to be loaded into trucks. Then is transferred to successive washing units, up to the final centrifugal separator, aiming the moisture of the final product will not exceed 7.4%. Finally, it is transported by conveyor belt in salt piles 10 to 15 meters high to be distributed to standardization companies for consumption.

It should be noted here that the two salt flats of Messolonghi, depending on the weather conditions of each year, produce 65-75% of domestic production, which corresponds to more than 50% of the country's needs.

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