HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Himalayan Salt Experience? Anyone?

I have seen "Himalayan Salt" sold at various stores, especially discount stores like Home Goods and TJ Maxx. They are not inexpensive.

According to wikipedia, Himalayan Salt is a marketing term and the salt is not technically from Himalayan. It does sound cool though. Aside from the confusion and possible deception, has anyone here tried Himalayan Salt? What do you think of it? Does it taste richer than regular salt? Thank you in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I'm not a big fan of these "dirty" salts. I don't generally find the flavor to be any more appealing than plain old salty salt. It looks pretty in the bottle and you can add it with a nice flourish, but it's still just (expensive) salt. As for everyone who chimes in claiming that there are nutritional benefits, I'd bet that if they were presented with a bottle of the "added minerals" in these salts by themselves, they'd balk at using them on food. Somehow adding dirt to salt increases the perceived value of both by a significant factor.

    I'll add to this that the only worthwhile additives to salt are truffles or smoke.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Smoked salt? I think I have seen it, but never used it.

      Nah, I don't think Hamalayan Salt is healthier or anything like that. I am just curious if it tastes richer and more complex due to its impurities.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Smoked salt is fabulous and one of the only designer salits, so to speak, that were worth the money.

        Yeah, I've had the Himalayan nad some similar Australian pinc salt. They look pretty, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy them.

        1. re: rworange

          "Smoked salt is fabulous and one of the only designer salits"

          Are any smoked salts good? Or there is specific kind I should be looking for?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            So far everything I've tried has been good, so no particular brand in general.

            The first one I tried was from Whole Spice in Napa (they do mail order and are a very good spice company). The advantage was they sold by the ounce and I wasn't taking such a big leap in price or waste if I didn't like it ... I loved it.

            http://www.wholespice.com

            They only had one smoked salt when I bought it, but now tehya have different ones smoked with different woods ... alderwood, hockory or applewood. Time to take a drive up that way.

            Hmm ... looking at their website they ahve some new to me combos

            Sea salt and smoked Spanish pepper (pimenton)

            Szechuan salt and pepper

            Sea salt and wild porchini mushroom

            Sea salt and malt vineagar

            Sea salt and chile verde

            Sea salt and hibiscus (though most of my hibiscus buys have failed here)

            Sea salt with fresh lime

            Ah ... that Australia salt I tried was Murray River pink flake which I liked better than the Himalayan but not enough to rush out and buy some (had it at a restaurant). Don't remember why I liked this one better though.

            1. re: rworange

              Trader Joe's now has a smoked sea salt in the ever increasing line of spices that come in those plastic grinders. It has a pronounced smoke aroma, but I don't notice a particularly smoky taste.

              They have had the pink Himalayan salt in the grinder for a while also.

              Both of them are perfectly good salts, if you like coarse ground sea salt, and since they are from TJ's they are a pretty inexpensive way to try something out.

              1. re: pamf

                I'd avoid the TJ's smoked salt then. The smoked salts I tried also has a great smokey taste.

                1. re: rworange

                  How do you use them to best show the flavor? On Salad, etc.?

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          There's nothing really "complex" about it. To me it's the Ziegfeld Follies effect (there's an apocryphal story of how Flo Ziegfeld bought all his dancing girls expensive silk underwear because even if the audience didn't know it "the girls would dance like they were wearing expensive silk underwear"). It's a way of taking the world's cheapest food ingredient and turning it into a "gourmet" item.

      2. I got a small canister of pink himalayan salt (not a large rock) for xmas one year. Didn't really notice a difference in taste. But it was great to sprinkle on popcorn because it's easier to see.

        1. Hi, Chem:

          I have a lamp made of Himalayan salt. And because you are such a good CH buddy, I just took a lick. Salty.

          It looks like traditional Hawai'ian pa'akai alaea (not the commercial grade), just slightly pinkish/orange. I cook with this some, and I think the "impurities" in it do in fact alter the flavor from white tablesalt. But I am searching for words to describe the difference. Not exactly richer, but maybe a little more *there* there.

          There are definitely differences between salts. Fleur de Sel tastes different from Sel Gris. The actual sodium chloride content varies as well. Check out http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si_...

          I can't pronounce on the nutritional benefits of the MOS (matter other than salt) in these salts. But in cultures that are so tightly bound to the land that distinctions between people and the earth are not always drawn, eating a bit of the 'aina is a reminder of that tie. However, given the way we treat the earth, freshly made sea salt might well contain some pollutants; mined salt from ancient deposits might be safer, long-term.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          3 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            So, do you like it ? (since it tastes slightly different to you)

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Yes, I like the Hawai'ian alaea salt. Haven't cooked with the Himalayan--just tasted my lamp. But yeah, tasted good.

              Can you tell the diff between Fleur de Sel and regular tablesalt? If so, the Him may be worth a small purchase to try and compare. Even if you can't taste a difference, the color adds a little something positive to contrasting-color dishes.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                It does add a little pizzazz as a finishing salt, but overall it ain't that impressive (sits in the very back of my spice shelf and is used far less than even Bacon Salt).

          2. I like the Murray River better than any of the Himalayan I heve used, But it is entirely a texture and appearance thing, not a taste thing. It gets used for finishing salads, platters, etc. I use fleur de sel for things that are more "French" in inspiration -- seafood, caramel. For cooking, baking, brining, just plain old salt

            1 Reply
            1. re: painperdu

              coarse MURRAY RIVER seems to be easier in a salt mill,HIMALYAN seems softer and ?? smoother, I think this is why large slabs of HIMALYAN can be real fun to cook/grill and serve on
              however a large 3" cube of Himalyan pink is a pretty conversation piece on the table,give your guests a fine microplane grater for fun

            2. There are actually frightening new studies that suggest America's intake of pure, bleached NaCl is sooooo high, our bodies may come to not recognize their own cells, and attack them, as in MS. Choosing less processed foods (Subway bread has as much salt as 14 slices of bacon), and seasoning our own creations with mixed electrolytes as we find in himalayan salt, can help prevent the overload of pure sodium in our cells.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nurse52

                If you're ingesting Himalayan salt, you're ingesting salt. If you want less salt in your diet find alternatives TO salt, not alternative salts.

                1. re: Nurse52

                  "(Subway bread has as much salt as 14 slices of bacon)"

                  Ridiculously untrue.

                  Subway bacon (2 strips) = 190 mg
                  Subway 6 inch wheat or white = 280 mg

                  And this is only comparable because Subway's 2 strips of bacon are a scant 9 grams for both.

                  http://www.subway.com/nutrition/Nutri...

                2. Huge nutritional differences in table salt v. the real sea salt that hasn't been stripped of it's vitamins and minerals. I'm just a normal person. I have nothing to do with this particular article, but I have done years of research on salt, and this except sums up the differences quite well:

                  Refined Table Salt vs. Sea Salt

                  Refined salt is produced from sea salt originally. It starts as a ‘real food’ then quickly becomes a ‘fake food.’ Manufacturers harvest this salt with methods that strip it of all its naturally-occurring minerals. They then use a number of additives (including aluminum) to dry it and heat it to temperatures of about 1,200 degrees, which alters its chemical structure. The stripped iodine is replaced with potassium iodide in potentially toxic amounts. The salt is then stabilized with dextrose, which turns it purple. Finally it is bleached white.

                  Sun-dried sea salt, on the other hand, is laced with marine life (organic forms of iodine) and many essential minerals. This type of salt remains in the body at work for several weeks. Refined salt passes through the body quickly and may be why researcher Henry Bieler found signs of sodium starvation in people who ate lots of refined salt.

                  Celtic sea salt, that which is farmed with ancient methods from the salt marshes of Brittany, is one of the best varieties that are readily available in the US. It is light grey in color and carries 80 trace minerals and 14% of it is composed of macro-minerals. Red sea salt from Hawaii is superior to Celtic sea salt but is much harder to obtain.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JMomGTown

                    These statements are all pretty much false. First, salt, regardless of the source, has no 'vitamins' in it. Second, the very large majority of additional minerals in sea salt are present at such trace amounts so as to provide no meaningful contribution to a person's overall intake. Also, sodium chloride (salt) is cubic crystal of sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions, with a melting temperature of 801 °C (1,474 °F) and one can not "alter the chemical structure" of salt. Last, your body (or any living organism for that matter) has absolutely no way to tell if a particular sodium ion came from the blue Morton's canister or the most expensive, lovingly hand harvested sea salt so the assertion that salt from one source or another is eliminated faster or slower is contrary to fundamental laws of chemistry and biology.

                    1. re: kmcarr

                      Sorry. I made a mistake listing vitamins... I just automatically think of that in conjunction with minerals. In unadulterated salt, there are up to 84 different minerals. As "trace" as you they might be, salt is pretty "trace" in the food we eat as well. According to dozens of reputable articles and doctors, the process salt goes through once it is harvested makes all the difference in the world in the way it is assimilated in our body. I don't pretend to be some food scientist, and I am no food extremest either, but I stand firmly behind the wonderful benefits of real sea salt. Clearly there are plenty of people who don't. I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusion.

                  2. ...and as far as taste, I have tried Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. They both have a more complex flavor than table salt to me. If salt is playing a large role in the flavor of your dish, I would opt for the real deal. If it is going to be mixed with lots of other flavors, herbs and spices, I would only use the real deal if you are interested in it's health benefits. Otherwise, table salt.

                    1. Really old post but.. .the pink Himalayan I have grinds to a very fine powder and is not as heavy, unless you add a LOT to your food. I like this: http://www.saltworks.us/cyprus-black-... on tomatoes but I was told by a friend not to cook with it or it will turn the food grey. I cannot speak from experience.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mrsfury

                        It's salt with activated charcoal, so yes, there will be a soot-like tinge if you dissolve it in liquid.