Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Salt
Although salt has taken a bad rap in recent years, everyone needs between 1,500 and 2,300 mg a day to stay healthy. Too, properly used, salt imparts terrific flavor in your cooking. The trick is to know which salt to use when.
Rest assured, no salt type is truly healthier than any other (although it could be argued that un-iodized table salt is the least healthful).
Choosing salt is really all about flavor.
Different Types of Salt
What is Kosher Salt?
This coarse salt is evaporated from a brine, usually – but not always – under conditions approved by Orthodox rabbis. (Be sure to read the label carefully if you are concerned about eating kosher.)
Kosher salt has no added iodine or other additives and is considered appropriate for any kind of cooking because it dissolves quickly, spreading its flavor well throughout the dish.
Kosher salt is widely available in grocery stores.
What is Table Salt?
This is the sort of salt most often seen on tabletops – hence its name. Table salt is refined to remove all traces of other minerals, and anti-clumping agents like sodium silicoaluminate, magnesium carbonate, or calcium phosphate are often added. Table salt is often preferred in baking because it has a finer grain.
Look for table salt in any grocery store.
What is Iodized Salt?
This is a type of table salt. When table salt is processed, it looses most of its naturally occurring iodine; if a salt is marked “iodized” this means iodine has been added back in.
Iodized salt is widely available in grocery stores.
What is Sea Salt?
Fine or coarse, sea salt is created from evaporated sea water. Tasting lighter and fresher than table salt, sea salt often has naturally occurring trace minerals like potassium and magnesium. In general sea salts are added to food after cooking. Use small quantities, since they can impart bold flavor, depending upon where they were harvested.
Look for sea salt in grocery stores or gourmet shops.
What is Coarse Salt?
Also called “Gos Sel” or “Gale Grosso” this salt has larger grains and is usually ground before use. It’s primarily used in soups or for salt crusts on meat.
Some types of coarse salt may be found in grocery stores – others only in gourmet shops.
What is Crystalline Sea Salt?
Fine or coarse, crystalline sea salt is ideal for adding to already cooked foods, fresh off the stove. Some crystalline sea salts are sweeter, more bitter, or more brine-like than others, depending upon the naturally occurring minerals also found in the area where the salt was harvested.
Look for crystalline sea salt in gourmet shops.
What is Flaked Sea Salt?
This soft salt dissolves faster than any other and adds unique brine-like flavor to shellfish and steamed vegetables. When cooking, crush the salt crystals between your fingers before sprinkling onto the food.
Flaked salt is mostly available in gourmet shops.
What is Fleur de Sel?
Also called “Flower of Salt” or “Flor De Sal,” this salt is best used after the food is cooked; keep it on the table for special occasions. Because this salt is rather bulky, it melts slowly in the mouth and offers a somewhat earthy flavor.
Look for Fleur de Sel in gourmet stores.
What is Celtic Salt?
This expensive salt (also called “gray salt,” “grey salt,” or “Sel Gris”) is harvested through traditional methods of solar evaporation in the Celtic Sea marshes in France. With its mellow, mildly sweet flavor, it is best used after foods are cooked.
Celtic salt is available from specialty gourmet shops.
A Few Other Popular Gourmet Salts
Black Salt (also called “Kala Namak” or “Sanchal”) has a strong sulfur odor; it’s primarily used in Indian cooking. Hawaiian sea salt is a pink salt with high iron oxide content; it’s used in many traditional Hawaiian foods.
Italian Sea Salt (also called “Sicilian Sea Salt” or “Sale Marino”) is harvested in the Mediterranean ocean by traditional methods; it’s an excellent choice for sauces and salads.
Smoked Sea Salt is literally sea salt that’s been smoked over wood fires; it has a distinctive smoky scent and flavor that’s useful for some soups, pasta dishes, and for grilling.
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