Salt is more than a flavor jump-start. It is
one of the four basic flavors and an essential nutrient that our bodies
rightfully crave. Often incorrectly referred to as sodium, salt consists
of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. While all salts originated
from the sea, a number of the major North American salt mines are
nowhere near a presently existing ocean. Salt is concentrated in
underground deposits in unexpected places such as Kansas, Ohio, and
Michigan, which were at one point covered by the ocean.
As a general rule, use coarse salt crystals
in cooking water or to sprinkle onto or into foods for seasoning.
Fine-grained salts are preferred for most baking because they measure
and dissolve evenly. Here's a guide to common forms of salt available
Table Salt : Once of the most widely used
salts, table salt goes through a refining process that removes traces of
other naturally occurring minerals. Chemical additives such as sodium silicoaluminate, calcium phosphate, or magnesium carbonate are sometimes
blended in to prevent clumping. Table salt and iodized salt are
preferred in baking for their fine-grained texture and accuracy of
Iodized Salt : A form of table salt, iodized
salt is fortified with iodine that was lost during processing. Iodized
salt was the first "functional food", fortified in the early 1920s in
response to a Midwest-focused epidemic of gioter (hyperthyroidism) that
was caused by iodine deficiencies.
Kosher Salt : This inexpensive coarse salt
is evaporated from a brine, usually under specific conditions approved
by the Orthodox Jewish faith. It contains no additives or added iodine.
Kosher salt is popular among chefs because its coarse texture makes it
easy to pinch up between you fingers and sprinkle onto foods. Measure
for measure, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt contains less salt than the same
amount of table or iodized salt.
Sea Salt : Available in both fine and coarse
grains, sea salt has become increasingly available in markets but at a
higher cost than table or kosher salt. Sea salt is made from evaporated
sea water. Some salt farmers evaporate the water in enclosed bays along
the shoreline, then rake up the salt by hand. This type of salt tends to
include several naturally present trace minerals, such as iodine,
magnesium, and potassium, which give sea salt a fresher, lighter flavor
than standard table salt. Expensive varieties, such as sel gris, Esprit
du Sel, and Fleur de Sel from France are usually gray in color and
slightly moist. These are best used where their tremendous flavor and
presence is pronounced, such as on a boiled potato or a slice of tomato.
You can also get pink, brown, and black sea salts from India.
Rock Salt : Sold in large crystals, rock
salt has a grayish hue because it is unrefined. Rock salt makes a great
bed for serving oysters and clams. Or combine it with ice to make ice
cream in hand-cranked ice cream makers.
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on how to use salt in our cooking, you can visit