Indigenous Hawaiians have used sea salt, pa‘akai (“to solidify the sea”), for many generations and for many purposes. Hawaiian sea salt was traditionally used to season and preserve food, as well as for religious and ceremonial purposes, and as medicine.
In Hawaii, sea salt could be collected from rocky shoreline pools. People also cultivate and harveste sea salt on a larger scale through the use of man-made shallow clay ponds, where seawater slowly evaporates, leaving behind crunchy sea salt. Hawaiian red salt is mixed with red ‘alaea clay. The red color comes from iron oxide in the clay.
Hawaaian black salt (sometimes called black “lava” salt) is also made from solar-evaporated seawater. The salt is coated with activated charcoal. There is no actual lava in the salt. The charcoal gives the salt a black color and smoky flavor.