Salt is undoubtedly the most important ingredient in cooking. Without it, most meals would taste bland and unexciting. However, not all salt is created equal and there are many types to choose from…the Himalayan Pink Salt, Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, Celtic Salt…to name a few. Not only do the salts differ in taste and texture, but there are also differences in their mineral and sodium content. Here is a look at a few of the different types of salt:
• Refined Salt (Table Salt) – This is the most commonly used type of salt. It is usually highly refined, and is heavily ground. As a result, most of its impurities and trace minerals are removed. The problem with heavily ground salt is that it can clump together. For this reason,
anti-caking agents are added to refined salt to allow it to flow freely. As a public health preventative measure against iodine deficiency, Iodine is added to this type pf salt. Food-grade table salt is almost pure sodium chloride (97% or higher).
• Sea Salt – This salt is made by evaporating seawater, and like Table Salt, Sea Salt is mostly just sodium chloride. However, depending on where it is harvested and how it was processed, sea salt may contain some amount of trace minerals like potassium, iron and zinc. The darker the Sea Salt, the higher its concentration of impurities and trace nutrients. Unfortunately, due to the pollution of oceans, Sea Salt can also contain trace amounts of heavy metals like lead. Sea Salt is often less ground than regular refined salt, creating a more potent flavor than refined salt. The trace minerals and impurities found in sea salt can also affect the taste.
• Himalayan Pink Salt – Harvested in Pakistan, the Himalayan Pink Salt contains traces of iron oxide giving it a characteristic pink color. This type of salt also contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Its sodium content is slightly lower than regular salt.
• Kosher Salt – Originally used for religious purposes, Kosher Salt is flaky and course in texture. The main difference between regular salt and Kosher Salt is the structure of the flakes. Chefs find
Kosher Salt easier to pick up with their fingers and spread over food due to its large flake size. Kosher salt has a different flavor burst, but if you allow the salt to dissolve in food, the flavor isn’t any different to regular table salt. However, this salt is less likely to contain additives like anti-caking agents and iodine.
• Celtic Salt – Light grey in color and moist, Celtic Salt gained in popularity in France. Extracted from seawater, this salt contains trace amounts of minerals and is lower in sodium compared to plain table salt.
Foodies and chefs primarily choose their salt based on taste, texture, color, and convenience. The impurities, including the trace minerals, can affect both the color and taste of the salt. The size of the salt can also affect how the salty flavor hits the tongue. Salt with a larger grain size tend to have a stronger flavor and last longer on your tongue. However, if you allow the salt to dissolve in the food, then there is no major taste difference between plain refined salt and the other “gourmet” types of salt.
(Source: Natural Cures Not Medicine)