Types of Salt.
- jo blam Jan 13, 2007 06:41 PM
What's the differece between kosher salt and sea salt?
also,I bought this jar of salt (Trapani Sea Salt)and spent $14 (from italy). my boyfriend flipped. i don't know why i purchased it. i felt frivolous.
Are there people with 10 jars of diffent types of salts in their cupboards?
Jo Blam, You need a new boyfriend who is a Chowhound. Use the Trapani salt as a "finishing salt" sprinkled on the dish just before serving. (Great on grilled vegetables, fish, egg dishes, etc.) Try a taste test: Taste a sample of the Trapani by itself and then do the same with some Morton's. You'll notice how Morton's tastes too salty by comparison. Kosher is a coarser salt that dissolves slow and is excellent for stews, soups and braising. Finally, to test your relationship, buy some Italian truffle salt. Not only does it add great flavor to almost anything, you'll know if you're with the right guy or not.
i've been wanting to try some of the smoked salt and the pink salt.
i just buy alessi brand sea salt at the grocery store.
if you have any TJ Max's or Marshall's stores near you, they actually have a decent little selection of gourmet type seasonings (including sea salt) at non-gourmet prices. they had some type of a finishing salt there as i recall. (big flakes)
( alas, didn't see any smoked salt there ;) )
yes, there are people with 10 different salts in their cupboards. I'm trying to cut back so I have only
- Maldon (my standard finishing salt)
- an Australian crystal
- Halen Mon smoked sea salt
- smoked rock salt (from some place in Palo Alto)
- himalayan rock salt
- red hawaian
- grey salt from Brittany
- Camargue fleur de sel
re: MIss G
Fleur de sel is pretty easy to find in most cities but you can mail order several varieties including the one from Carmargue at http://www.saltworks.us/shop/product....
Saltworks offers a wide range of sea salts from some that I see at my local Safeway to artisanal salts from around the world. Also bath salts at great prices.
At this point I only have 9 kinds of salt in my cupboard, but I'm open to others.
Red and black Hawaiian
fleur de sel (2 kinds--Carmargue from a friend and one from Penczy's)
kosher (my standard)
fine sea salt
coarse sea salt
plus three different herb salts that a friend gave me--lovely, lovely. Oh, recount and I realize I AM one of those people who has ten different salts in my cupboard!
I was thinking of trying to make my own smoked salt, has anyone done that?
I don't have more than two or three salts on hand most of the time, but for all-purpose use I've gotten addicted to Diamond Crystals Kosher salt. Besides being cheaper than Morton's, it's much tastier, being an almost-flaky evaporated salt instead of crushed rock salt. Pinch for pinch it's not so salty, but I've not had any trouble adjusting.
Maldon is the best, IMO. Just wish I could afford more of it!
The answer to your basic question is that all salt is sodium chloride (NaCl) with the types we use varying by the way they are obtained, crystal size and shape, and additions that add colors and flavors.
Plain table salt, Kosher salt, and rock salt are mined from underground deposits of sea water. They are prehistoric sea salts.
Plain table salt often has iodine added to it as well as anti-caking agents. Kosher salt has no additions due to religious restrictions and has larger crystals. For this reason, it is used by many cooks as it is easier to see how much you are adding to a dish. Baking recipes have usually been written for the use of table salt which measures differently from Kosher salt as it has smaller crystals. It also disperses more easily in dry ingredients. Rock salt has some specialized uses.
There are a number of different methods used for gathering sea salts. Some are traditional artisanal methods, having been used for centuries; others are cheap and are taking advantage of the trendiness of sea salts.
At the cheap end of the spectrum, there is little difference between "sea salt" and mined salt.
The good sea salts are wonderful and are definitely worth exploring. That being said, their tastes are subtle and many think that it's a waste to use them in cooking because their flavors are lost among other ingredients that they dissolve into. I agree that their best use is at the table where they are right up front on your palate.
The tastes of sea salts vary depending on the trace minerals they contain or flavor additions. Water off the coast of Brittany isn't the same as water near Hawaii so the minerals in the salts, therefore the subtle tastes, will be different.
Depending on the methods of collecting and processing, the sizes of crystal will vary - everything from fluffy fleur de sel to rock salt. Beyond the minerals from the water itself, some salts include bits of soil (red, black, pink), herbs, smoke, truffle infusion or other flavors which are added. Beyond that, France and New Zealand have just certified organic sea salt and there are a many "branded" sea salts.
Of course your BF is skeptical because at some point it does seem over the top. There are some wonderful artisanal sea salts that have been enjoyed for centuries and are absolutely worth every penny. There probably are some rip-offs. It's up to you to figure out the difference. A little common sense goes a long way.
Speaking of salt, somebody recommended to me something called (I think this is the right word) "unprocessed" salt. Supposedly it isn't processed to remove the trace minerals like Morton's is, so it tastes different (and may have some marginal additional nutritional value). Also, not processing it makes it more expensive (go figure). Is this for real?
Mined salt, like Morton's, is processed to remove a trace mineral called dirt, a step not necessary with good quality artisanal sea salts.
In any case, in the quantity that we use salt, the amount of trace minerals is so negligible that they would hardly add any nutritional value worth paying for.
This is probably another one of those things worth thinking through logically before we plunk down our hard-earned dollars.
You're right that there are taste differences for good old NaCl but the biggest difference right now is marketing because salt is trendy. All of it is processed in some way before it gets to market, some more than others, and the language is imprecise.
It's worth what the consumer is willing to pay for it. A little skepticism goes a long way.
Thanks to makingsense for the perfect answer to the question about sodium chloride.
Here is what I am using currently:
fine pink himilayan salt on popcorn
smoked salt on salads with dark greens and egg
australian flake salt to season meats before searing
lavendar salt (dried lavendar buds and sea salt in a grinder) on goat cheese- amazing
fleur de sel for finishing steamed veggies
kosher salt for general use (in baking, into the pasta water, etc...)
my next aquisition will be truffle salt.
Buy a truffle (one of the little jarred kind will do), cut it into 3 or 4 pieces, and bury them in a jar of fleur de sel for awhile. The salt will absorb the scent of the truffle. Voila! You have created your own truffle salt!
Guess how you can make smoked salt? Stovetop smoker? Fireplace? How much have you been paying?
i'd read someplace that it's easy to make your own smoked salt - maybe next time i'm grilling with wood chips i'll give it a shot.
i also like those DIY ideas with lavender and the truffle - i grow lavender and various other herbs so it would be pretty easy to make an herbed salt with just some basic sea salt. i have scads of lemongrass, lemon thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram.....