Everyone uses table salt at one point or another in their lives. We buy table salt for the taste, but we also buy table salt because it is the convenient way to re-hydrate and nourish our table scraps and food from the restaurant and grocery shelves. Table salt’s purpose can also be nutritional. Salt works as an antioxidant, removing harmful free radicals and other toxins in the food we eat.
Kosher salt does not get its name from being kosher, it comes from the larger crystal grains sel gris that it, as well as most other salt find itself stuck in. When dry, the crystals will shrink creating a crumbly texture that some people like on their food. If you happen to live somewhere where your options for salt are limited, then kosher salt will usually be readily available at any American grocery store, just pick up your tab and ditch your table salt. Most kosher salt is also dry-cleaned to remove any remaining traces of moisture. After this process, salt may also undergo a process called “bleaching” to turn a bright white color. This process does not affect the flavor of kosher salt; however, most stores will not sell it if the color has changed.
Table salt is generally coarse and is used for cooking, baking and any other preparations where it must be used with oil or butter. Most sea salt and table salt contain potassium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, and these compounds combine to create the salt’s characteristic smell and texture. In addition, the crystals provide moisture, and when they dissolve in water, they release their flavor. When cooking with sea salt, your goal is maximizing the flavors in your food.
Salt crystal effects your taste buds, making salty dishes taste more bitter or spicy. To counteract the saltiness of a dish, try herbs, spices or dill. For example, if you prefer garlic over onions, finely chop up some fresh parsley and mix it with a teaspoon of dried garlic. During the process of curing sea salt, the crystals will become more concentrated, resulting in stronger taste buds. However, using too much salt can also change the natural flavor of sea salt, so experiment with your tastes.
Baking or marinading requires high quality ingredients to produce tender, flavorful baked products. The most expensive products are not always the best and should be avoided if possible. Sodium chloride and potassium chloride are common additives, but they are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream instead of being absorbed through the digestive tract. High quality products, such as sea salt, table salt or baking salt, should be made by a company that employs a salt master.
It is possible to buy table salt or kosher salt that has been processed using the traditional three different methods. These methods include sea salt, table salt or kosher salt. Each of these has its own unique qualities: sea salt contains more dissolved solids, whereas kosher salt has a higher concentration of magnesium and zinc. When buying table salt or kosher salt, make sure that it has been processed in accordance with the three main standards recognized by the International Salt Institute.
Fleur de sel is a salt commonly used in French cooking, but the name is misleading since this salt actually comes from the Alps. Fleur de sel is produced from an ancient mineral spring known for its purity and fine, white salt. Pink salt is a salt manufactured in the Russian region of Irkutsk and has a light pink color. Both these salts have a very coarse texture, and they both work well in steaming or baking dishes where they can draw out and preserve the flavor of the foods they are used in. They can also be added to confectionary or candy bars for added texture and sweetness.
The price of salt varies according to the different types of minerals found in them, but there is no price that can be placed on the pleasure that people derive from the consumption of salt. Salt brings out the flavor of foods in many ways, and it enhances the enjoyment of any meal. Whether you buy table salt or kosher salt, make sure that you buy it from a reputable source, as the quality of this vital kitchen tool reflects on the taste of the food that you prepare.