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Thursday July 20, 2006 8:40 am

Types of Salt

Posted by Janie Franz Categories: Food Trivia, Condiments,

SaltSo, you thought salt was salt, right? Well, all salt is still sodium chloride, but salt comes from different sources in the world and have different textures and subtleties of flavor. There are three main types of salt: table salt, pickling salt, and rock salt. A cheap non-food grade salt, rock salt comes in bigger crystals and is used to melt ice quickly when making ice cream or for clearing your sidewalk. Pickling salt is used to make dill pickles or other brine vegetables.  It is similar to table salt, except it will cake and clump. 

Table salt is found in nearly every home. It is usually iodized (the addition of potassium iodide) to prevent thyroid disease and has anti-caking additives. Don’t use iodized salt for making pickles or sauerkraut because it will turn the pickles dark and cloudy and keep the sauerkraut from fermenting correctly. To some cooks, iodized salt tastes bitter.

Another form of table salt is Kosher salt. Most chefs and home cooks prefer this salt over regular table salt.  It is coarser and because it’s flaked, it will adhere better to meats, poultry, or fish. Since it has larger grains, you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipes.

Sea salt is another salt used in cooking. It is made by evaporating sea water. It also contains other trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  To some, sea salt is saltier than table salt and has a cleaner flavor. Also, this one isn’t a good choice for canning or pickling.  French sea salt is very expensive. It is unrefined, meaning it has more minerals in it. It comes in gray or la fleur de sei, which is white, and can be coarse ground or finely ground. Indian black seas salt is really more tan than black and tastes of sulfur. The most expensive and rarest salts is the pink Hawaiian sea salt.

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