By: Ankie Nieuwenhoven, Flavors of St. Martin Senior Epicurean guide and Location Manager
In the 1600’s Salt Mining or Salt Picking was the economy of Sint Maarten. The mining area on the island is the Great Salt Pond, located in Philipsburg, the Capital of the Dutch side of this island paradise. We also have a French side called Saint Martin. Salt played a vital role in the Caribbean and was exported to the old and the new world.
Vintage photo of Salt Picking in Sint Maarten
By the way: it was mostly the women who were the Salt Pickers while the men were out fishing…sounds fishy?!
FUN FACT: Salt is the only Rock Mineral that humans consume! This raw form is called Halite.
Salt in its raw form, Halite.
Fast forward to Salt Fish: Widely eaten in the Caribbean until today! Now do not let the name Salt Fish confuse you into thinking that the fish is very salty. The fish is boiled or soaked in water to remove most of the salt. A good Salt Fish is not too salty…it is all about the love in preparation my Foody Friends!
FUN FACT: Salted Fish provides preserved animal protein even in the absence of refrigeration. Johnny Cakes with Salt Fish is a staple for breakfast in the Caribbean. Johnny Cakes, this true Caribbean delight, can be tasted also during the Flavors of St. Martin Food Tours!
Salted Fish in 2020 at the Simpson Bay Fish Market! Join Flavors of St. Martin Food Tours and you might see this with your own eyes!
Check out this documentary of the Great Salt Pond in St. Martin.