HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Kosher salt - what is it?

h
Harters Mar 18, 2008 06:42 AM

I often see this as an ingredient but can someone please tell me what it actually is.

It's not something I've ever come across (at least not by that name). I've even asked at my nearby Jewish grocers (which obviously has many products approved by the Beth Din) but got no more than a blank look.

I presume it must be something different from "ordinary" salt but I can't think what it might be.

TIA

  1. 2
    2chez mike Mar 19, 2008 04:52 PM

    I use Kosher salt for almost everything. But I do keep a container of regular salt next to the stove for salting boiling water for pasta, vegetables, etc. At over three dollars a box Kosher salt is too expensive for that.

    5 Replies
    1. re: 2chez mike
      MMRuth Mar 19, 2008 05:15 PM

      I used to do that too - but I now have too damn many containers of salts next to the too many bottles of olive oil - so I just use the coarse kosher salt, which I don't use as much as the fine one, for pasta water.

      1. re: 2chez mike
        C. Hamster Mar 20, 2008 08:00 AM

        $3? Wow. I buy Diamond Kosher for about $1 or $1.50 a box. It's .99 at Walmart or Costco.

        1. re: C. Hamster
          h
          Harters Mar 20, 2008 08:16 AM

          Supermarket own label "cooking salt" in the UK is 72p for 3kg. Which, if I've done my currency conversion correctly, is about 23 cents a pound.

          1. re: C. Hamster
            2
            2chez mike Mar 20, 2008 12:01 PM

            Thanks for the tip. I'll have to stock up next time I pass one of those places. It's well over three dollars a box here in Los Angeles at supermarkets like Ralph's, Jon's, Pavilions, etc.

            1. re: 2chez mike
              s
              silleehillee Jan 16, 2010 04:57 AM

              2chez mike, you might want to try Target. I bought my box of Morton's Kosher salt for about $2.89 during Thanksgiving, if I remember correctly. I was wondering if that wasn't an exorbitant price for salt since regular table salt's about 79 cents.

        2. DockPotato Mar 19, 2008 02:54 PM

          So, does "kosher salt" = "pickling salt" which is also not iodized?

          2 Replies
          1. re: DockPotato
            k
            Kelli2006 Mar 19, 2008 03:56 PM

            Pickling salt is EXTREMELY fine, so it dissolves easier.

            1. re: Kelli2006
              h
              Harters Mar 19, 2008 04:38 PM

              Ah. Now that's interesting, as the coarse "cooking salt" that I mention above that we have in the UK, is exactly what we'd use for general pickling, including making a soaking brine.

          2. johnb Mar 18, 2008 10:33 AM

            Basically all salt is sodium chloride (neglecting such things as potassium chloride, which is often blended with sodium chloride and sold as "lite" salt, but getting into chemistry would be beyond us here). Kosher salt could better be called "koshering" salt. It is the right grind for koshering meats, ie curing them with salt to bring out the blood, and that is its original purpose and where the name came from (it is not "kosher" because it was blessed by a rabbi). Variations in salt sold for human consumption relate primarily to additives and grind (coarseness). Kosher salt is a course grind that is generally free of additives, or has minimal additives. Because of the grind and the way the grains nest against each other, kosher salt is less dense than table salt, so more will be required by volume than table salt to have the same quantity by weight.

            1. h
              Harters Mar 18, 2008 09:26 AM

              Thanks for all your superfast responses. I think from alkapal's link and the description of it being simply "coarse" salt, it must be what we would just call "cooking salt" (as opposed to "table salt").

              Am I right that it is not in flakes as you would get in sea salt ("fleur de sel" as the French call it)?

              For interest, a Google on "salt" and "Northwich" will get you about 94000 hits on the salt mining about 30 miles from my home in north west England. Our best known sea salt is Maldon but I prefer Halon Mon from the Island of Anglesey - http://www.seasalt.co.uk/DesktopDefau...

              J

              (PS: "Halon Mon" translates from Welsh as "Anglesey salt" - I think :-)

              3 Replies
              1. re: Harters
                alkapal Mar 19, 2008 02:38 AM

                kosher is not flaky like sea salt -- you are correct, harters.

                1. re: alkapal
                  mr jig Mar 19, 2008 04:00 AM

                  Morton's kosher salt is in fact flaked salt.
                  dick

                  1. re: mr jig
                    alkapal Mar 19, 2008 01:55 PM

                    my morton's kosher salt says "coarse" and if they are flakes, they are tiiiiiny flakes.

              2. paulj Mar 18, 2008 08:08 AM

                Apart from the additives (iodine etc), the main difference, for cooks, is that kosher salt is coarse enough to 'pinch'. I keep a small jar of it near the stove, and take a small amount out with my thumb and finger when I want to adjust the seasoning. Some brands are actually flatten crystals. A related difference is that it is less dense than fine grain salt. I usually ignore that when measuring, preferring to under salt my food. If a recipe calls for kosher salt, and you substitute a fine grain one, don't use as much (by volume).

                It may be that in the UK you have always had access to sea salt, in various textures. For us in the US, 'kosher' salt was, for a long time, the main alternative to fine grained 'ordinary' salt.

                paulj

                1 Reply
                1. re: paulj
                  ChefBoyAreMe Mar 18, 2008 08:13 AM

                  It also effects "saltliness". Cooks Illustrated did an analysis, and found that for substitution purposes, DC is the "airiest" salt, and regular table salt the densest, with Morton's Kosher falling inbetween, so they recommend substituting at:
                  1 part table salt=1.5 parts Mortons Kosher=2 parts DC Kosher

                2. alkapal Mar 18, 2008 07:34 AM

                  look for this box next to the "regular" salt in most any grocery store:
                  http://www.alliedkenco.com/catalog/pr...

                  1. Gio Mar 18, 2008 07:26 AM

                    I'm surprised the Jewish grocers did not know what Kosher salt is because it is used to "kosher meats" as required by Jewish law. This involves coating the meat with salt to draw the blood to the surface and, meats bought at a kosher butcher must be "Koshered" by that method in order to be kosher when served.

                    Kosher salt produced by Morton contains sodium ferrocyanide as a free-flow agent.

                    1. i
                      irishnyc Mar 18, 2008 07:02 AM

                      It shouldn't be hard to find at all. Look on your grocery shelves for a box a bit larger than a small cereal box. I can even choose from several brands at my local stores.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: irishnyc
                        MMRuth Mar 18, 2008 07:03 AM

                        Harters is in the UK - it may not be as readily available there.

                      2. Pollo Mar 18, 2008 06:54 AM

                        It's coarse salt....that's it....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pollo
                          MMRuth Mar 18, 2008 07:03 AM

                          But isn't it correct that it doesn't have iodine in it?

                          Interestingly - it's not listed here:

                          http://www.waitrose.com/food/cookinga...

                        2. MMRuth Mar 18, 2008 06:44 AM

                          One big difference here in the U.S. is that it doesn't have iodine it, the way U.S. "regular" table salt does. Also, although you can get a "fine grain" kosher salt, it often comes in larger grains - that's what I use to make gravlax, for example.

                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/ck_culinary_qa/article/0,1971,FOOD_9796_1696168,00.html

                          http://ninecooks.typepad.com/perfectp... - this is interesting as well - and explains that one has to substitute 2 T of kosher salt for 1 T of table salt.

                          I only use kosher salt and sea salts.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: MMRuth
                            phofiend Mar 18, 2008 07:40 AM

                            Not all regular salt (i.e. non-kosher) is iodized. Sea salt often has a lot of naturally occurring iodine. Personally, I can't stand the stuff. To me it tastes like a medicine cabinet smells. I like Diamond Crystal plain table salt, and the kosher version for cooking.

                            1. re: phofiend
                              Gio Mar 18, 2008 07:59 AM

                              Actually, all salt is sea salt.

                              1. re: Gio
                                MMRuth Mar 18, 2008 08:16 AM

                                This is interesting about salt production:

                                http://www.mortonsalt.com/saltfacts/s...

                                1. re: Gio
                                  phofiend Mar 18, 2008 08:32 AM

                                  Um, no, unless you go back millions of years. Much salt is mined.

                                  1. re: phofiend
                                    alkapal Mar 18, 2008 09:02 AM

                                    there was a cool show on discovery a little while back about salt mining -- in the area of salt lake city, utah?

                                    1. re: alkapal
                                      phofiend Mar 18, 2008 09:10 AM

                                      I was in Poland a few years ago and went to the Wieliczka salt mine, which has been worked continuously since the fourteenth century. Incredible! Beautiful and frightening. For days I could taste salt every time I took a deep breath.

                                  2. re: Gio
                                    Gio Mar 18, 2008 09:49 AM

                                    Thanks everyone! I really don't know why I posted that. I was really on my way to saying something else. A burp in my brain, I guess.....

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      k
                                      Kelli2006 Mar 18, 2008 10:43 AM

                                      Morton's table salt is produced in Rittman Ohio by evaporating brine extracted from deep injection wells.

                                  3. re: MMRuth
                                    C. Hamster Mar 19, 2008 10:56 AM

                                    Never seen "fine grain" kosher salt. Why would there be such a thing?

                                    1. re: C. Hamster
                                      MMRuth Mar 19, 2008 11:34 AM

                                      The reason I buy it is that it doesn't have Iodine - I use it regularly.

                                      http://www.cargillsalt.com/food/dc_sa...

                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        C. Hamster Mar 19, 2008 02:24 PM

                                        That's what I use, too. It's easy to work with and tastes better.

                                        But it's not fine, it's coarse. Quite coarse, as evidenced by the sub ratio between it and table salt.

                                        I don't see why there would be "fine" kosher salt. It's for koshering meat.

                                  Show Hidden Posts