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Salt Brand -- How Important is the Brand?

It will be very difficult to debate against the importance of salt in any culinary cooking. It is very basic, but very essential. Maybe because it is so basic (just NaCl) that it does not really matter the source is.

So in your experience and your opinion, do you prefer a particular salt brand? Do you think it matters who or where you buy your salt from? If so, what is your favor brand of salt? Or do you just buy the cheapest ones on the shelves?

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  1. In my experience the only difference between generic & branded (Morton's) salt is the packaging. Sometimes the metal spout on the cheapo brand will collapse into the cardboard top when you push it closed. I buy the cheapo product unless the branded is on sale for the same or lower price.

    (I'm just talking about differences between branded & generic,basic table salt, not how that compares to Kosher salt, or other variant types of salt).

    5 Replies
    1. re: masha

      <the only difference between generic & branded (Morton's) salt is the packaging>

      I am also thinking about the anti-caking agent. You know. The stuffs to keep the salt grain separated. I wonder if the more expensive brand does a better job about it. In all honesty, I have not noticed this, but I am not very sensitive to these things.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        In AZ, we do not have that issue, as we normally have about 7% Relative Humidity.

        Back in NOLA, we would add Long Grain White Rice to our salt shakers, to absorb moisture. In AZ, well not so much.


        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          When growing up and into my 20s, we used to put uncooked rice into the salt shaker to prevent crusting. Wow, nice memory of the "olden days."

          Living in Las Vegas now, it's not an issue, but I wonder if others in more humid climates do this?

          1. re: blaireso

            Still happening at the finer greasy spoons here in central Florida.

            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              And at all the seaside joints on Long Island.

      2. There's a big difference between Diamond Crystal and Morton's for kosher salt. Morton's crystals are smaller meaning that if you measure volumetric-ally, instead of with a scale, your recipe could end up being too salty if the recipe was written using Diamond crystal and vice versa.

        For that reason I generally use Diamond crystal which was used in all the kitchens I cooked in (most likely because it's cheaper).

        1 Reply
        1. In cooking I only use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. I also have smoked salt I made myself from the Diamond Crystal that I use for cooking. I don't usually have a salt shaker on the table. On the rare occasions I do, during holidays, I have a spice grinder with Hawaiian red salt. I used to have several types of colored and sea salt, but can't be bothered anymore. I don't use iodized table salt at all. I think it tastes metallic. Cheap and more expensive brands alike.

          12 Replies
          1. re: JMF

            In all of these replies, no one has mentioned the method I use. I buy plain old five of ten pound bags of 'ice cream maker' salt and put it into a pepper grinder for the table. I bought two sets of crystal salt shaker and pepper grinder. Usualy, I jut put the shakers away in the cupboard and use only the two grinders on the table. Because they are crystal, they can't be mixed up. The salt that comes out of the grinder has all of the advantages that are claimed for flakes, powder, larger, irregular crystals and so on. The colours in the mined salt are the various minerals that were in that original ocean or sea. Most of the mined salt in the US is from the mid-continental sea that roughly corresponds to the Mississippi and Ohio River systems (under Lake Erie near Cleveland and the salt domes in Louisiana, Utah, and the Dakotas. It is naturally iodized and has a 'brighter' flavor than plain old generic table salt, to my tastes. The comment about being adulterated or 'polluted by rust, volcanic ash, silt, or will not fit through the average salt shaker.' is the whole point of using sea salt. So why not just use mined ice cream maker salt to start with?

            1. re: DeeDee_AZ

              I did not realize that was "food grade"! Makes me wonder about the stuff they use to melt snow.

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                Same stuff the highway department keeps in big sheds to put on roads. Why would you make a distinction about 'food grade'? Do you believe that herbs, spices and other vegetable flavorings are sterilized or otherwise made 'food grade;? How would you make a nutmeg 'food grade' without ruining the essential oils in it?

                1. re: DeeDee_AZ

                  I wasn't thinking "sterilized", but in the example you use, herbs you eat are treated differently than those meant as ornamental. For one thing, they aren't sprayed, or treated with certain fertilizers. After I read about "food grade plastic" I figured that I shouldn't store food in any old plastic, so now I check that it's "food grade". When I was a kid, I seem to remember the salt we put in the ice cream makers didn't look "clean". By that I mean, it looked like it might have dirt in it. That's what made me think of the de-icing salt. That stuff looks "dirty" to me too.

                  Since I read your post, I looked it up, and learned that "ice cream maker salt" is actually "rock salt", which was a little easier to find out more about.

                  Here is an old thread;

                  Apparently there are different....wait for it....grades!


                  "Rock salt: Less refined and grayish in color, this is the chunky crystal salt used in ice cream machines. This type is generally not used as an edible flavoring mixed into foods, but in cooking methods such as to bake potatoes or to encrust or embed meat, seafood or poultry for baking. Rock salt makes an impressive bed for oysters on the half shell. When using rock salt for cooking, be sure it is food-grade. Some rock salt sold for ice cream machines is not suitable for cooking. "

                  I live and learn!

              2. re: DeeDee_AZ

                I think salt grinders are pretty useless, and your story sort if confirms that . Sorry.

                And what in the heck is ice cream maker salt ? Certainly a low grade product

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  If you don't kinow what I'm talking about, I'd guess that your comment about salt grinders being pretty useless is sort of an indication that you don't know what you're talking about, or as my daddy used to say, 'you don't know your @$$ from your elbows on this subject. Of course your mileage may vary.

                  Oh, by the way, the salt used in ice cream makers is just plain old mined salt that hasn't been washed or refined.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I use a salt grinder for sea salt, I like it because I can adjust the grind from coarse to fine for different applications. Ice cream maker salt is kind of like pickling salt, it's the size of the particles more than anything else. Ice cream salt is quite large, and it works well in salt grinders as do many others.

                    1. re: blaireso

                      Exactly. Thank you for verifying that I'm not off my ancient rocker!

                      B- )

                    2. re: C. Hamster

                      There isn't a "low grade" when it comes to salt. Salt is salt is salt. The only distinction is when stuff is added to salt.

                      1. re: ferret

                        Salt will contain impurities until processed to remove them. "Food grade" generally means (for anything) that impurities are analyzed and reduced to safe levels for consumption.

                        1. re: ferret

                          Guess you have never bought rock salt at the hardware store - in 50 lb bags.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Holy cow! I could boil pasta and potatoes AND fill up my grinder practically forever! And I thought a ten pound bag lasted almost forever! No snow to speak of in Arizona, and I only make kimchee a couple times a year. Just don't have a lot of other uses for rock salt.

                  2. CK, I am basing my response on the supposition that you are talking about North American table salt. As opposed to the sodium chloride that has been polluted by rust, volcanic ash, silt, or will not fit through the average salt shaker.

                    I can usually taste the difference between iodized and pure in my recipes. Be warned that I use more then is currently considered healthy as I like the way it impacts other flavors.
                    I have not noticed the presence of anti-clumping agents. I have also used chemically pure salt from labs and could not tell any difference. (Used during lunch.)

                    The pound I bought at Aldi's last month set me back 35 cents.

                    1. I too use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt in the kitchen. The exceptions are for pasta or boiled potatoes, for those I use iodized salt. On the table we have a small ramiken of half salt.

                      1. A lot of people mentioned Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. I actually happen to have one. What is so special about the Diamond Crystal Kosher salt? Is the size the only difference?

                        31 Replies
                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Morton's kosher does or used to contain an anticaking agent. Diamond doesn't.

                          And, for the record, from the Morton Salt FAQ page:

                          "Can water softening products be used for canning or eating?

                          No, water softening products should not be used for canning or eating"

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            It's not so much size as shape. A cup of Diamond weighs 5 ounces and a cup of Morton's is 7.7 ounces because it packs more densely (table salt weighs 10 ounces per cup).

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Check the sodium content. Diamond Crystal is much less than Morton's, etc. I find it "sweeter" than other brands.

                              1. re: blaireso

                                The comparisons are by volume (1/4 tsp) and not weight. 1/4 tsp of Morton's weighs more and therefore contains more sodium. Sodium chloride is sodium chloride.

                                1. re: blaireso

                                  <Check the sodium content. Diamond Crystal is much less than Morton's, >

                                  ???? How is that even be possible? Interesting. I must check later. Thanks.

                                  1. re: blaireso

                                    Wrong. Both Diamond and Morton give 1/4 tsp as a "serving," but Diamond is much less dense, hence the lower figure for sodium. Equal weights of Diamond and Morton have the same sodium content.

                                    The "sweeter" taste is no doubt an artifact stemming from the different shape and density of the crystals when tasting it directly in its dry form. If you dissolve equal weights in equal volumes of water, you won't be able to tell the difference, because there is no discernable difference.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      You're right. My brain fried at trying to do the conversions, mainly because the volume is so different between densities. The sodium content is the same, but because of the grind a teaspoon is quite different in effect. Perhaps why folks prefer, a pinch is more controllable?

                                      I'm not sure why the taste is so different, I tried licking both from my finger and I swear I can tell. But, could be my predisposition....

                                      1. re: blaireso

                                        You probably can tell, tasting it directly. Try tasting salt water at equal salinity.

                                    2. re: blaireso

                                      You know, this chowhound thread claimed that sugar was added to salt in Canada:


                                      1. re: Kalivs

                                        I just bought a container of Morton's Iodized Sea Salt and the contents are: sea salt, calcium silicate, dextrose, potassium iodide. 1/4 tsp. says zero carbs, 590 mg sodium.

                                        Looks like sugar is added in the US also. Hmm.

                                        1. re: blaireso

                                          Dextrose is in iodized salt because it stabilizes the potassium iodide. There can't be much of it, because it doesn't register on the nutritional chart.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            Oh now I remember that previous discussion about dextrose and iodine. Thanks.

                                            "Why is iodine added to salt? Why is dextrose added to salt?
                                            In 1924 Morton became the first company to produce iodized salt for the table in order to reduce the incidence of simple goiter. Dextrose is added to stabilize the iodide. "


                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              This has been a most informative thread! Any clue on how much iodized salt is needed to prevent goiter assuming that a person is not eating any seafood?

                                              1. re: firecooked

                                                Here's a link to some information about iodine dietary requirements:


                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Anybody know which veggies grow in iodine rich soils? This link is kinda vague, although it sounds like a few meals a week of iodine rich fish will do the trick. I do know that iodine deficiency has been on the rise with the advent of non-iodized salts like sea salt, kosher salt, etc. Also, breads used to be made with iodized salt, not so much anymore. I just keep an old sesame seed spice jar, the one with the perforated top, and use it to add salt to items where the taste won't be noticed.

                                                  1. re: blaireso

                                                    After reading that I decided I have to look into getting more iodine in my food. I don't use iodized salt due to the taste and haven't in over a decade. Actually I don't remember ever buying it. I don't use much salt except when absolutely needed during cooking.

                                                    Also vitamin D deficiency is on the rise due to people staying out of the sun to prevent skin cancer. I had it two years ago. I don't drink milk or eat much dairy anymore. I don't go out in the sun due to major skin damage from a previous life of working out in the wilderness. Vitamin D deficiency for me led to a rapid, severe increase in my arthritic symptoms (also due to joint damage from carrying heavy weights in the wilderness) to the point that I couldn't walk or move without severe pain. I went on supplements in large doses for two months then a daily supplement, and was 90% pain free within the first few weeks.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      Wasn't milk enriched with Vitamin D because of ricketts in inner city children in the 1930s and '40s? My father in law grew up in the NY Jewish ghettos in the 1920s, he had ricketts.

                                                      You can get orange juice with Vit. D in it--makes great mimosas, LOL! That and some lox and bagels and you've got your quota of iodine and D! Great excuse for frequent brunches....

                                                      1. re: blaireso

                                                        I don't drink commercial OJ anymore. I picked up a Rival Juice-O-Mat from the 1940's and squeeze fresh. If you ever want to drink commercial OJ, don't ever read the book Squeezed.

                                                    2. re: blaireso

                                                      "In areas where there is little iodine in the diet, typically remote inland areas and semi-arid equatorial climates where no marine foods are eaten, iodine deficiency gives rise to hypothyroidism, symptoms of which are extreme fatigue, goiter, mental slowing, depression, weight gain, and low basal body temperatures.[6]"

                                                      Cretinism and goiter were first noted as regional problems in places like the Alps (pre 1900).

                                                      has a table of goiter rates noted in WW1 recruits. Rates were highests in Pacific NW and upper Midwest states.

                                                      "Seawater, for example, is rich in iodine, but glaciers depleted iodine rich soil in places like Michigan

                                                      So from an iodine standpoint, non-local winter vegetables from California, Florida, Arizona and Mexico are probably better than locally grown Michigan ones.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Also... It sounds like food for dairy cows if supplemented with iodine, making milk a good source.

                                                        1. re: firecooked

                                                          Sounds to me like if you take a multivitamin with 100% RDA of iodine, you can use whatever salt you want!

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  I know. Sad, isn't it? This is what Scotch does to your brain (after drinking tonight with friends). Children don't drink Scotch.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Maybe if you put some salt and dextrose in your scotch, it will preserve and stabilize your brain.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      correction chem - Children shouldn't drink Scotch.

                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        I mean to type:

                                                        "Children, Don't drink Scotch" -- like those old ads.


                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Perhaps, but they understand & appreciate the need for a good electrical tea kettle. Our first electric tea kettle in the US was Canadian. For that, I've always loved them.

                                                  3. re: Kalivs

                                                    You guys are making me giggle. Maybe it's the scotch. Oh, yeah, I forgot, it's really the vodka, I don't drink scotch. And mostly I forget just about everything, so writing an explanation about dextrose and iodine and forgetting you did it makes eminent sense. Today I tore my house apart looking for something I was sure I'd put away very logically and carefully. Yeah, VERY carefully. So labelling SUGAR , KOSHER SALT and IODIZED SEA SALT makes much sense. I don't mix them up, but no matter how many times I tell DH he does. Must be the lack of vodka.

                                                  4. re: blaireso

                                                    They have exactly the same amount of sodium.

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      They have the same sodium content by weight, but not by volume.

                                                2. For general table salt, I usually buy Morton's out of habit and because it's almost always on sale (making it the same price as the generic brand). I do prefer Diamond Crystal kosher salt for my kosher salt needs, and I also buy one of their table salts (labeled "flake salt") because it is very fine and sticks well to things like popcorn, fried foods, etc. I don't put that in a regular salt shaker, though - it comes out way too fast and is way too easy to overdo.

                                                  1. I really like Diamond Crystal, but mostly use Blue Moon Salt.

                                                    1. I usually use Diamond but SO confused his male "D" names and bought David's last time. I kind of like it. I also have Morton's which I rarely use and am not sure how I acquired. I mostly don't use it because I prefer David's flake shape and also because it has random additives.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Is David's similar to Diamond Crystal? By that I mean is it similar in volume to weight ratio?

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          "Random additives" in food is a good thing?

                                                        2. Howdy, Chem. I use Morton kosher for general cooking and on the dining table (in salt pigs), but next time I get salt, I will try Diamond Crystal. For finishing applications my two favorites are Halen Mon and one labeled Celtic Sea Salt, a slightly damp grey salt. When I have a crystal of a Halen Mon it just tastes so clean and bright, like a cold, blue February day on the Mennai Straights.

                                                          17 Replies
                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              I want a salt pig too. But I want a salt pig which looks like a pig.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I have a potter friend who could probably do that for you.

                                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                                  A business is born! I have a traditional one I got at Fante's beside the stove and an egg shaped Nigella Lawson on the lazy Susan, but I'd be tempted by one that actually looked like a pig. If your friend needs inspiration, my favorite baking dish is a nice pig based piece.

                                                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                                                    Do you find it more useful than just shaking the canister?

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      I use a ramekin that was made by an artisan in Gatlinburg, TN, with a plastic spoon for kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), and an old large plastic spice container for Morton's iodized sea salt. The ceramic thing is on the lazy susan with some oils, the plastic thing out of sight. I don't like the flavor of the iodized sea salt as well, it seems, well, "iodized." There's a flavor there that isn't lovely. But...

                                                                      Lately I've been switching back and forth between kosher and iodized sea salt, read something about iodized salt as being important in our diets. I use the sea salt for baking, seasoning flour, etc.--the grind is finer and incorporates well. Use the kosher salt for nearly everything else.

                                                                      We're older, so I don't finish with salt at all. I figure I'm injecting enough sodium into our systems with basic seasoning.

                                                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    We have a couple of salt pigs that also include little ceramic spoons, but the openings are too small for my large hands. (Chem, neither is shaped like a pig.)

                                                                    We have a salt cellar similar to what Alton Brown used on Good Eats.


                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      I used to use fine sea salt, and living in a dry climate was pretty good at estimating how much to use from a shaker. However, now that I'm in a more humid climate, this doesn't work, so I have been trying to covert to using kosher salt from a salt bowl just like they do on TV. But it seems that my fingers are always a bit damp in the kitchen and the salt sticks to my fingers. Do I just need to get a spoon?

                                                                      Also... I can't tell a flavor difference between sea and kosher salt, but don't like iodized salt.

                                                                      1. re: firecooked

                                                                        An old trick used in humid climates is to put some uncooked rice in the salt shaker. It's supposed to absorb some of the moisture that would make the salt stick. But I suspect that the grains just break up clumps of salt.

                                                                        The main point to using kosher is that the grains are easier to pickup in a pinch. Fine salt just drains away when you try to pinch it. With kosher it is easy to pick up a pinch, and sprinkle it even across the surface of the food.

                                                                        I keep jars of both kosher and fine by the stove, as well as a larger shaker. Fine salt from the jar is best used with a measuring spoon. It can also be measured by pouring a bit into the cupped palm of my hand.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          <But I suspect that the grains just break up clumps of salt.>

                                                                          Hmm, that makes sense too.

                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                            I can pick the kosher salt up ... I'm just left with a salty coating on my fingers.

                                                                            And... I think grains of salt in the jar look like bugs.....

                                                                          1. re: Miss Mick

                                                                            My sister would really appreciate that!

                                                                        2. In the last few months I've been using Alessi Kosher Sea Salt and really like it. Prior to that I was a Diamond Crystal gal.

                                                                          1. For cooking I only use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. I still have a ceramic salt box by the cooktop.

                                                                            For table use we use Pink Himalayan Salt. What ever brand my wife picks up at Home Goods or TJ Maxx (usually the cheapest place top buy a cylinder).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                              On a recent Cutthroat Kitchen 2 of the contestants had to season their steak and fries with Pink Himalayan Salt - taken in what every way they could from a large block.

                                                                            2. Plain salt for the shaker or kosher salt measured by the pinch makes no difference.

                                                                              When used in a brine, I suggest weighing since some brands weigh more by cup.

                                                                              I have no brand loyalty. It's all the same, NaCl.

                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                Since hardly anyone has a scale there are simple conversion instructions all over the interwebs.

                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                  That's something I don't understand. Any serious home cook should have a scale. I have two in my kitchen myself, but then I guess I'm not typical.

                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                    I love my scale and wouldn't do without it. In fact, the battery ran out one Saturday night at 9pm and I certainly went right to the store for new batteries, but your classification of cooks by scale ownership is pretty harsh :)

                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                      Ive been meaning to get one.

                                                                                      Im a serious home cook and cater sometimes too but Ive been able to function without one for 30 years.

                                                                                      But then I don't bake very much. Just bread.

                                                                                      The table/kosher coversion is a simple one. Id never use a scale for that anyway.

                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                        You probably have got the "feel" with so much experience.
                                                                                        I use my scale more than I thought I would. It was the ANKB that got me to finally purchase one.

                                                                                      2. re: JMF

                                                                                        The typical home scale would be useful for weighing a cup of salt for a brine. But it isn't that good for measuring quantities like 1 tsp. I just weighed 1 tsp of 'kosher' salt and got 6gm, while 1 tsp of a fine sea salt was 7gm.

                                                                                        I have been meaning to get a scale for smaller quantities, for use with molecular gastronomy experiments. They aren't that expensive.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                          I use a KD scale and it seems to work OK in the 2-3 gram rang but struggles with 1 gram if that's all that's on there.

                                                                                        2. re: JMF

                                                                                          I don't agree that one must have a scale to be considered a "serious" home cook. Hardly anything requires the greater accuracy of measuring by weight. Some things that should be accurate, such as the salinity of pasta cooking water, can be controlled consistently by sticking with one brand and type of salt, measured by volume.

                                                                                          When I worked in a restaurant many years ago, the chef (a serious cook) never weighed anything that I remember. He relied on his experience and his sense of taste.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            As I said, I might not be typical. But there are lots out there that take food/cooking/recipes/ as seriously as I do. Some of the other discussion boards I frequent are seriously geeky, way more so than I. I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. While other times I totally wing it and measure by eye and feel. I do a lot of smoking and curing. Also some modernist cooking and mixology. Exact amounts by weight are necessary. Sometimes down to the 1/10 of a gram. Both for safety, in many ways, not just what you might typically think, and to accomplish the goal/recipe. If I'm spinning some food/beverage in my centrifuge and one container is off by a gram, it could lead to serious injury, even death. A few grams too little of pink salt when curing could lead to botulism or other serious poisoning.

                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                              I'm probably not typical of the CHers, but I've lived in a few climates and baked my share of whatever. Weighing flour is helpful, but not required. I don't do anything fancy, so I doubt I'll kill anybody, but if you're a novice baker weighing makes life much easier.

                                                                                              Salt has been a valued commodity for millions of years, so it stands to reason that many varieties and flavors are cherished in our worldwide palate.

                                                                                              1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                Baking is more critical than most other cooking. Home bakers can get by without scales by being consistent in their choice of flour and their measuring techniques. But now that accurate scales are inexpensive and readily available, there is no reason not to have one if it is helpful.

                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                  I agree, but will also add that texture and "feel" make a difference to cooks who historically didn't have access to scales. Me, for example! We learned to measure by adding whatever until it felt right. I still mix meatloaf the same way, don't you? And pie crust is totally dependent on humidity, so you measure, and then adjust.

                                                                                                  1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                    I agree with you and GH on different points. I agree that scale has become very inexpensive, but I also think it is easier to use cup and spoon than scale. It is just more works, you know. I agree that baking require precision more than regular cooking. This is because it is impossible to correct a dough once the baking starts. Whereas I can always add a bit more salt while tasting and making my meal.

                                                                                            2. re: GH1618

                                                                                              I most often use my scale for spice rubs.

                                                                                                1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                  I'm not sure what you mean. My favorite recipe is the Barbecue Spice Mix from The New Professional Chef; 1/2 ounce paprika, chili powder, and salt, with cumin, sugar, dry mustard, thyme, oregano, curry powder measured by the teaspoon.

                                                                                                  I use a scale that "zeros out" after each addition, which makes it pretty fast and consistent.

                                                                                                  I use it for a lot of other things, but I make that spice mix often.

                                                                                                  1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                    Oh, I get it. That recipe amounts to a quantity of about cups. I might double it I'm making ribs.

                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                      You got it. I was talking about, but not properly describing, making large quantities of something. For example, I have a tambouri spice rub that I routinely triple or quadruple, then label on a jar: 3 Tbs. plus 8 oz. yogurt, 3 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 Tbs. grated ginger, etc. It's a lot faster, isn't it? Since you're measuring by weight, your spice rub would be an ideal candidate for doing in quantities and freezing in a jar, label with how much to use and what to add in terms of fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                      1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                        What's tambouri? Or do you mean tandoori?

                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                          Sorry, my mistake. Yes, tandoori. Or, a dancin' fool! And even that is wrong. Don't know where my mind was. Typical these days.

                                                                                                2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                  A serious COOK could do just fine without a scale. But anyone interested in advancing their knowledge/ability in BAKING must absolutely get one.

                                                                                          2. Diamond Crystal is the American standard: for table salt, it's finer than Morton's, and for kosher, it's an easier ratio (2:1 rather than Morton's 1.5:1) that is the one commonly used in professionally edited American cookbooks.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                              <Diamond Crystal is the American standard>


                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                Is there an ANSI reference for that?

                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  I use Morton's coarse kosher salt for scouring my cast iron, but that's about it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                    I wouldn't call it a standard -- I'd never seen it growing up, because we lived near the Morton mines. And now living elsewhere, Morton's is still ubiquitous in stores. It may or may not be ideal, but it's very much what most people are probably going to grab.

                                                                                                  2. I switched from iodized table salt, usually Morton's, to sea salt long ago, and didn't notice much of a difference, except that sea salt seemed to have a mellower salt taste. Last year, I switched to RealSalt, a salt harvested from dried up sea beds in Utah. It's light pinkish grey and is purported to have a naturally high iodine content and to retain trace minerals lost in processed salts. Something about this salt is really good for me. I feel distinctly different when I use it, I need to use less, and when I use a lot, I don't have the same sick, waterlogged feeling I did with other salts. I love this salt and probably won't go back to white salt again.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                      Do you think you need to stock up this salt? Or it won't run out in your life time?

                                                                                                    2. Several years ago I ran out of "table salt" and since then have only used Hawaiian Sea Salt, not the pink, just the regular sea salt. I just didn't think I really needed any more additives in my life. That plus the fact that I eat too much processed foods means I'm not real worried about my iodine intake as most processed foods have plenty of iodized salt in them already.

                                                                                                      The sea salt does taste cleaner to me now, although at first I couldn't tell the difference. In cooking I don't notice it as much, and since I tend to under salt things im cooking the measurement difference doesn't have a lot of impact on what I'm making, although the crystals are about twice as big as normal table salt. I have no idea where my salt shaker has disappeared to, the back of a shelf somewhere.

                                                                                                      1. I love salt. I use David's kosher in general cooking. I have a wide variety of finishing salts. No shakers on the table, but depending on the dish, I might choose additional finishing salts for the table.

                                                                                                        It must be that some people can't taste the difference while others can. I am always surprised to read the "salt is salt" posters. They clearly can't taste a difference and I believe them. But for those of us that can, brand or type of salt makes a huge difference.

                                                                                                        I really taste metal in regular table salt so I don't use it at all.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                          < I am always surprised to read the "salt is salt" posters.>

                                                                                                          That's me. :)

                                                                                                          <They clearly can't taste a difference and I believe them.>

                                                                                                          May I then ask why do you like David's Kosher? It tastes saltier? It tastes less metallic?

                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                            I am used to the texture of David's for cooking with (in general) as I almost always use my fingers to add salt instead of measuring. I tend to over salt if I use fine sea salt.

                                                                                                            I do taste metal or unpleasantness/harshness in some other salts in certain applications (like in melted butter or a clear broth).
                                                                                                            I never have that problem with David's or Diamond Crystal so I don't try to cook with other salts anymore.

                                                                                                            When I am at a diner or cafe having breakfast (where I salt my eggs and hashbrowns) and there is table salt in the shaker, I always notice it. The flavor is off to me, not terrible at all, but I notice.

                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                              I understand. I'm that way with aluminum baking powder.

                                                                                                        2. I use only Morton Kosher Salt for cooking because it's available everywhere. It is more important to stick to one brand than to use one brand rather than another, because of differences in density.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                            Agree. Morton's is ubiquitous where I live, so Morton's it is in my household.

                                                                                                          2. I use Morton's salt almost exclusively. I don't recall ever thinking that I'd over salted any recipe, but appreciate the information on Diamond vs. Morton's kosher salts.
                                                                                                            I'd consider switching to Diamond, but I'm so used to using Morton and can salt with my eyes closed at this point, that I'm not going to fix what's not broken.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                              I'm a Morton's user too. I did try Diamond Crystal one time but found I preferred Morton's coarser texture.

                                                                                                            2. As we have discussed before, l use only sea salt, preferably from oceans rather than seas, especially the polluted Mediterranean.
                                                                                                              l cook with sel de Guerande from Bretagne and finish with a good fleur de sel. Extra minerals, great texture added, and not as salty.

                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                I genuinely don't get the "not as salty" part. "Saltiness" is a function of quantity added, so you can make something "not as salty" by simply adding less salt, whatever type you use. If you're saying the proportion of "other" stuff in your sea salt is higher relative to the proportion of salt, then that's another thing entirely. But salt is salt is salt -regardless of where it comes from and its "saltiness" is constant for equal weight measures.

                                                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                  (I only use salt from the waters that surround Atlantis, gently dried by the breath of Vestal Virgins and carried to shore by unicorns)

                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                    Of course that is true, but due to the shape of fleur de sel, please taste it and taste a bit of Morton's whatever, l suspect you will think the FDS seems less salty as less surface area is in contact with your mouth. When it is used in water, dissolved should certainly be the same.
                                                                                                                    Ocean salt has far more minerals, therefore less sodium than mined salt as well.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                      Sea salt and table salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium, too

                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                        Just taste them and see if you can discern any difference, if not get whatever is cheapest, if so get what you like better.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                          I never said that I coudnt discern a difference. I can and have 4 or 5 "specialty" sea salts at home. But I wouldn't waste them in general cooking. Their specialness is lost that way.

                                                                                                                          I was disputing your claim that sea salt is lower in sodium.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                        'far more minerals'. Could you put some real numbers on that?

                                                                                                                        Sodium chloride is a mineral, every bit as much as potassium chloride or magnesium whatever.

                                                                                                                        But why should mined salt be 'purerer'? Underground salt beds were produced by the same sort of processes that operate in natural salt ponds - water evaporates from shallow ponds, leaving behind the dissolved minerals.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                          What you're picking up in ocean-sourced salt is dirt, the beneficial properties of which are unclear. If you took the stuff that adheres to ocean-sourced salt, isolated it and put it in a shaker, I can pretty much guarantee that no one would want to use it in food, but when it's associated with a salt product it somehow gains cachet.

                                                                                                                          I do get the nuances of a finishing salt and I do own several, but you also said you cook with an ocean-sourced salt, which again, makes no sense to me with respect to "saltiness."

                                                                                                                    2. Let me say that I appreciate all the inputs. I didn't know that much about salt.

                                                                                                                      1. This morning I used the wrong salt when making biscuits. I used a 'kosher' salt. Some of the crystals did not dissolve and ended up giving the undesired crunches of saltiness.

                                                                                                                        I put 'kosher' in quotes because my current box is an Italian sea salt. While labeled 'kosher', the crystals are coarser than Mortons, and not flat like Diamond.

                                                                                                                        While I have tried a variety of salts, and have everything from a big salt block to generic table, I have never detected a real taste difference. The differences due to grain size are real. But mineral content, such as might be detected after the salt is completely dissolved, no.

                                                                                                                        But there are salt purveyors who would happily tell you otherwise.

                                                                                                                        There's a SeaSaltSuperStore near the TJs that I frequent

                                                                                                                        The owner of a Portland salt boutique The Meadow has been interviewed on The Splendid Table

                                                                                                                        I on the other hand get my specialty salts at TJ (when they used to carry red and black Hawaiian salts) or Big Lots (my latest source of Italian sea salt).

                                                                                                                        And sometimes I like my salt laced with MSG and colorings (as in Maggi and Knorr soup bases).

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          I have a round box of table salt for baking for exactly that reason.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            I was given a professional sample box of salts around seven years ago that is long gone. It had vials filled with many, many salts from all over the world. All colors of the rainbow. Something like this, but in a fancy case.
                                                                                                                            You could easily taste the differences in many from the trace chemicals that gave them the colors.

                                                                                                                            Also, like you mention, grain size and shape is noticeable in how it is tasted on your tongue.

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Your "wrong salt" made me laugh. Until this morning I had two different colored ramekins on our counter, one with salt, the other with sugar. My DH made some egg salad and accidentally added the sugar instead of the salt. Oops. Obviously my fault, LOL. Sugar has now been put away.

                                                                                                                              1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                                                I made that salt/sugar mixup in bread dough when I was a kid (high school age). In other words, using a tablespoon or more of salt instead sugar.

                                                                                                                                In my kitchen they are in quite different containers, but I still do a pinch test every now and then. I also taste test dough and batter.

                                                                                                                                1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                                                  I made bechemel sauce with copious amounts of powdered sugar instead if flour once because my roommate didn't label her containers.

                                                                                                                                  One of my roommates loved it and wanted me to make it again but it was disgusting

                                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                    It sounds like frosting to me. You needed cupcakes.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                      I love it! This is one of those great stories you'll have forever.

                                                                                                                                2. I don't believe there is any taste difference between different brands of kosher salt, since the only chemical difference is the anti-caking agent, which, if present, is too small a proportion to affect the taste. A perceived difference in taste is probably due to a difference in physical structure, which could cause a different sensation when tasting the salt directly.

                                                                                                                                  For someone to convince me that he or she could tell the difference, it would be necessary to make two solutions of distilled water and salt, measuring the salt accurately by weight for consistent salinity, then conduct a blind tasting with enough trials to give a statistically significant result. Use fresh paper cups for each trial and randomize the order of the cups. That's a lot of trouble to go to, so I'm not going to do it. I'll just keep using what I'm using.

                                                                                                                                  1. I just reviewed my four comprehensive cookbooks from the masters (Beard, Child, Hazan, Pepin) to read what they had to say about salt.  Beard and Child stated a preference for coarse kosher salt in cooking, without bothering to note that different brands may have different densities.  Both give salt measure by volume, although sometimes each wrote merely "salt" or "salt to taste."  Hazan did not discuss salt in the book I have, and generally wrote merely "salt" in her recipes.  I have read that elsewhere she admonished cooks to use enough of it.  Pepin did not specify type of salt, although I know he has said he always uses kosher salt.  He gave volume measures, but sometimes wrote "salt as needed."

                                                                                                                                    I don't believe the particular brand and type of salt was nearly as important to these folks (serious cooks all) as to some here.  I expect they all assumed that a cook would taste the food and adjust as necessary.      

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                      <Beard and Child stated a preference for coarse kosher salt in cooking>

                                                                                                                                      One thing I realize now is that many people prefer to us coarse salt for cooking. I like to use fine salt.

                                                                                                                                    2. I know that I have previously replied about my preferences for cooking and table use salt, BUT I think it is appropriate to discuss KOSHER SALT.

                                                                                                                                      Most salt you find in the store is kosher, meaning 'fit for use according to Jewish law' and under supervision. You may notice the U in a Cirlce, the symbol of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, who has the larges kosher supervision agency in the USA.

                                                                                                                                      That said, what is being referred to here in this thread as Kosher Salt, the coarse grained large crystal salt used in the koshering ocess for meat in poultry. In order to consume meat that has been slaughtered according to Jewish law, it has to be soaked and salted (broiling exclusion not being discussed here) to remove the blood from the meat. The meat is heavilly covered with the 'Kosher' salt and put on an angled board to drain for a specified period of time, then the salt is thoroughly washed off.

                                                                                                                                      In the United States 'Kosher Salt has become mainstream,, produced by the major companies and in retail stores across the country. Most purchasers of Kosher Salt are not using it for its original intent.

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                        I always wonder how do the Jews afford to use so much salt. Salt was such a prized commodity. Ancient wars have been fought just for the access for salt.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                          There were major salt deposits in ancient Israel. The Dead Sea area, the area in the Negev where Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

                                                                                                                                          It became a much more expensive item in the diaspora. Prior to the migrations to USA, Canada, Australia, NZ and South America, most Jews ate little meat (too expensive for all but the wealthy) mostly a chicken for the Sabbath---that first made the soup and then fed the family. So the cost of salt wasn't a major factor.

                                                                                                                                          In America it was not uncommon for a butchre to complain that the supervising rabbi was making the butcher you a greater amount of salt than the butcher thought necessary, thus cutting into profits.

                                                                                                                                          For non-poultry (Beef, lamb, veal) there is an exclusion for the salting and soaking orocess for meat that is going to be directly broiled. But then the broiled meat has to be washed (to remove any blood that comes to the surface) and the cooking tray cannot be used for other meats that are not being broiled.

                                                                                                                                          This method is generally only used by those who must severely limit salt intake, and in the last 30 years with centralized kosher slaughtering and processing in the USA, most kosher meat is soaked and salted at the processor, nit by the local meat seller or consumer. Most under 60 kosher consumers in the USA have never 'koshered' meat themselves and would be hard pressed to find non-koshered kosher meat available for sale (with the exception of liver, which must be broiled).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                            Bagelman's got it! I think any civilization along a seashore learned to preserve many things by salting.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                            To flesh out that explanation a little more, "Kosher" means fit for use (either through ritual cleansing - as with meat - or through inherent qualities (like fruits and vegetables)).

                                                                                                                                            "Kasher" (pronounce kah-sher) is a verb meaning literally, "to make Kosher."

                                                                                                                                            So Kosher salt is really salt used to Kasher cuts of meat from a ritually slaughtered animal (has nothing to do with being blessed and everything to do with the type of animal, the method of slaughtering and the acceptability of the cuts used). The nomenclature used is because Kosher is a more obvious designation than Kasher.

                                                                                                                                          3. Diamond Crystal Kosher for cooking.

                                                                                                                                            For table/finishing salt, nothing except the amazing Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

                                                                                                                                            1. Not sure about "brands," but I collect, and use, many, many different types of salts.

                                                                                                                                              I cook with but a very few, and then use the rest, when serving.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                  Well, it is not one of those 500+ responses thread. :P

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                    Is that the record? 100 responses in under 48 hours seems like a lot, but I think "salt threads" are pretty popular.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                      500 is far from the record. I think there are definitely 1000+ post thread.

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, you are correct. Being a very benign title, it has gathered quiet a bit of responses.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                        And then there are the famous multiple threads on caneles, simple, not easy. Makes me want to make some. How's that for not on point on Chem's NaCl quest! Where are Cynsa and trewq and the other canele fanatics to push up the numbers here?!?!

                                                                                                                                                2. I am intrigued by the fact that only one person (that I noticed) referenced the idea that the different sizes and shapes of various salts make a difference in how their taste is experienced. For example, I love kosher salt in my chocolate chip cookies because it doesn't dissolve and I taste tiny, refreshing little hits of salt when eating one.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                    I do use coarse salt in cookies too -- most of the cookies because like you said, coarse salt does not completely dissolve. So I can add just a few grains of coarse salt, and the cookies can have that "burst" of saltiness. Had I used fine salt, then I would have to add a lot more salt to make the cookie salty, but then the entire cookies being salty, instead of have burst of saltiness from the coarse salt.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                      I make an oatmeal cookie with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top. But for the dough, I measure and use kosher salt or fine grind sea salt. Pretty much anything that I make that requires measurement for salt gets table salt. A pinch, a sprinkle, salt/pepper before searing, it's whatever I feel like. I use iodized sea salt to salt eggplant. If I know the main ingredient won't support the iodized flavor, my default is always kosher.

                                                                                                                                                  2. It's not important to me about the brand because there are instances that I unexpectedly ran out of Diamond Crystal salt and it is not possible to temporary stop my cooking just to buy diamond crystal Kosher salt in store. So, I used iodized salt.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I have been using a salt called Herbamare lately when I am making crackers or on simple vegetables where a nice herby green flavor is wanted. It is "organic-y" and very nice tasting!