Showing posts with label Kosher Salt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kosher Salt. Show all posts

Jun 19, 2015

Ten Salt Types

Salt is the most important ingredient in cooking. Without it, most meals would taste bland and unexciting. Salt is a crystalline mineral made of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Sodium and chlorine are absolutely essential for life in animals, including humans. They serve important functions like helping the brain and nerves send electrical impulses. The main difference between the salts is the taste, flavor, color, texture and convenience.

Refined Salt (table salt) is the most common. It is usually highly refined. It is heavily ground and most of the impurities and trace minerals are removed. The problem with heavily ground salt is that it can clump together. For this reason, various substances called anti-caking agents are added so that it flows freely. Food-grade table salt is almost pure sodium chloride, at 97% or higher. Iodine is often added to table salt.

Kosher Salt is used for all cooking. It dissolves fast, and its flavor disperses quickly, so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat, a step in the koshering process. Cooks prize crystals like these, because their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

Himalayan Pink Salt is harvested in Pakistan. It is mined from the Khewra Salt Mine, the second largest salt mine in the world. Himalayan salt often contains trace amounts of iron oxide (rust), which gives it a pink color. It also contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, and slightly lower amounts of sodium than table salt.

Black Salt, also known as Kala Namak, is actually a pinkish-grey color. It is mined in India and has a strong sulphuric smell. It is commonly used to spice food in Southeast Asia and has recently become more popular in the US among vegan chefs who use it for the flavor.

Flaked Sea Salt adds a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. This salt adds a hint of briny flavor. It comes from England's Essex coast. Its texture is soft, with sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

Celtic Salt is a type of salt that originally became popular in France. It has a greyish color and also comes from and contains a bit of water, which makes it quite moist. Celtic salt contains trace amounts of minerals and is a bit lower in sodium than table salt.

Rock Salt is used for making ice cream and de-icing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. It is also used to de-ice sidewalks and driveways during the winter. It is not sold for use directly on food. It is usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form. It has large, chunky, non-uniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

Crystalline Sea Salt is used for adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals can complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet. It comes from coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim. It can be either fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast it dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains. These natural impurities can add subtle briny, sweet, or bitter flavors to the salts.

Fleur de Sel is a special-occasion table salt. It is delicately flavored and adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon. It comes from coastal salt ponds in France. Some call it the caviar of sea salt and it is hand harvested. It is crystalline and melts slowly in the mouth.

Pickling Salt is used for brining pickles and sauerkraut. It is also used to brine a turkey, and is more concentrated than kosher salt. Pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. It is almost one hundred percent sodium chloride and is the purest of salts.
Bottom line, the main purpose for salt is to add flavor, not nutrition.

Feb 1, 2014

Kosher Salt Facts

Kosher salt is not kosher, does not come from the Dead Sea, is not necessarily blessed by a rabbi, and may contain additives, although it is usually free from iodine.

Kosher salt refers to any coarse-grain salt that is used to make meat kosher. Kosher salt usually is mineral salt, which may mined anywhere. A rabbi does not "bless" the salt to make it kosher (although Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt in the past has claimed to be packaged under Rabbinical supervision). As with any other salt, some commercial Kosher salt, uses anti-caking additives to make it free-flowing.

Feb 1, 2013

Table Salt vs. Kosher Salt

Salt is another game day treat that goes on almost everything. The primary ingredient in each type is sodium chloride. US requires food-grade salt be a minimum of 97.5% pure.

Table salt usually contains an anti-clumping agent, like calcium silicate, and also iodine. Kosher salt usually does not contain either. In the old days, people used to put a few grains of rice in their salt shaker to keep the salt from clumping.

The main difference between Kosher salt and regular salt is the grain size, with table salt being much smaller, because Kosher salt is less processed.

Kosher salt is not called “Kosher” because the salt is certified as kosher, but because this type of salt was used in the process of koshering meat to remove surface blood from meat without making the meat too salty.

Incidentally, iodine was first added to salt commercially in the United States in 1924 by the Morton Salt Company at the request of the government, because people weren't getting enough iodine in their diets. This caused many people to develop goiters or swelling of the thyroid gland. The practice was taken from the Swiss, who began adding iodine to salt many years earlier. Today most people get enough iodine in their diets, but many government health agencies around the world still recommend adding it to salt.