When I was growing up there were three kinds of salt. Morton’s Table Salt, Kosher Salt and the disgusting salt substitute, my Mom let my Dad use, after his heart surgery (YUCK!).
Nowadays, there are a zillion kinds of salt. You can have a whole block of it and shave it off. You can have it in an array of colors; black, pink, red, grey and more. You can have it flavored with an essence or you can get it smoked.
It is an amazing time to be experimenting with cooking and flavor with all these options. But how do you use them all? Let’s get into it.
Table Salt– This is the most common form of salt. It comes from underground mines and is ground fine. It probably has most of its trace mineral and impurities removed. Typically, and anti caking agent is added, as is iodine. This was started when people often had iodine deficiencies. This deficiency is still common in other parts of the world and can cause hypothyroidism. It’s not a big problem stateside. This is found on the table in most restaurants, but there are better options for home use.
Kosher Salt– Is a larger grain than table salt and usually doesn’t contain iodine. It is ideal for cooking because it dissolves quickly and infuses a great flavor. It is probably not really kosher, though. It is called this because it is what was commonly used in the koshering process. It is used to draw out liquids from meat.
The two most common kosher salts in the U.S. Are Morton’s and Diamond Crystal. They tend to be divided by what side of the country you are on, but with Amazon and other stores carrying both, it is easier to get both on both coasts. I personally prefer Diamond. It is a little finer and I think it dissolves faster with a less bitter after taste. However, they are both good salts.
Sea Salt– In my house this is what we use for “salt” or table salt. You can get it fine ground or coarse. I use the fine for most of my baking and keep the coarse in a grinder to use for cooking. My family has been trained and now uses the coarse grinder for salting their meals.
Pink Himalayan Salt– Right now this salt is having a moment. It is the purest of all the salts and is harvested by hand in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Its richness of color is indicative of the 84 natural mineral that are found in the salt and in our bodies. Because of it’s high mineral content it has a bolder flavor. It is often used not only for finishing but also for cooking, on a slab.
It can also be found used in spa treatments. I have a salt cave near me, https://roslynsaltcave.com I have used it for medicinal purpose to help with inflammation caused by my arthritis. It is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it.
Fleur de Sel– This is the most expensive salt in the world because it is rare and has a difficult harvesting process. It’s delicate flavor and small grain make it perfect for finishing. I love it on baked goods.
Red or Black Hawaiian Salt– Both are harvested from Hawaii. The black comes from the sea and gets its color from the addition of activated charcoal. The red comes from iron-rich volcanic clay alaea. Both have distinct flavors that make them ideal for finishing dishes.
Smoked Salt– This is exactly what it sounds like it is typically sea salt that is smoked for 2 weeks or more and over different types of wood. It is great for rubs and finishing meats. I have one that is smoked and infused with bacon flavor. YUM!
Flake Salt– I think this may be my favorite salt. My favorite brand is Maldon. It is basically evaporated salt water which gives it it’s flat irregular shape. It dissolves quickly and gives a quick pop of flavor when it hits the tongue.
I hope you have learned some things and that you will add to your salt collection. Here are some Amazon links to get you started.