Getting salt from the sea water is a slow process requiring hard labor and the hot sun of the long, dry Sicilian summers.
The ancient Egyptians knew how to get salt from the sea, and with the Greeks and Romans the "industry" flourished in Sicily. The windmills were added in medieval times. By the nineteenth century, Sicilian sea salt was exported to European countries as far away as Norway and Russia. Today many recipes specifically call for sea salt. In Sicily, the sea salt is often sold wet or damp. For this reason a few grains of rice are sometimes placed with in the salt shaker to absorb moisture and prevent hardening.