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Feb 21, 2006 02:21 PM

Is rock salt edible?

  • m


I have a salt mill that is like a pepper mill, except it is obviously filled with salt, a very coarse grade, and then you grind it onto your food. The time has come to re-fill it, and I don't know what type of salt to use. I have a box of rock salt and was considering that, but then it occurred to me that I don't know if rock salt is edible! I mean, it's used to freeze ice cream (ice/salt mixture) but that's the only use I've ever heard of for rock salt. Anyway, does anyone know? Or, what type of salt should I re-fill my salt grinder with and where can I get it? Thanks!

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  1. Look on the ingredients list. If it just says sodium chloride you should be fine. That is chemist-speak for table salt.

    Usually it is used as a bed for baking oysters, for melting snow, etc, as you mentioned.

    1. I'm sure it's edible. The problem is it's so coarse. You could probably use it in your grinder and be fine. Still, salt is cheap. I'd go buy a box of kosher salt and be done with it. Save the rock salt for your ice cream maker.

      1. You should be able to buy coarse Sea salt in a round tin at the grocery store that will work in your salt grinder. Don't know about rock salt.

        1. Rock salt is full of impurities. That is why they sell it as rock salt. It usually has a warning on the box about the impurities. I doubt it would kill you but I wouldn't eat it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Becca Porter
            Eldon Kreider

            OP doesn't sound like someone from the snowy parts of the United States. Huge quantities of rock salt are used to melt ice and snow on roads, etc.

            Rock salt often has some bits of other rock in it. A lot of the rock bits are limestone or other sedimentary rock. The main risk is to your salt grinder or teeth. Paying a wee bit more for kosher salt is a lot cheaper than ruining your grinder or, worse yet, paying for a dental crown.

          2. You can use rock salt to cook (I saw Alton Brown boil fingerling potatoes in water with lots of rock salt but haven't tried it) but I wouldn't put it in a salt grinder. Personally I'd use course sea salt.