Array of Cooking Salt
Have you noticed there is now a confusing array of specialty salts available for different uses in cooking? Some food snobs even turn up their noses if you use the wrong salt for certain applications. Growing up, most of us were used to just granulated salt that was often iodized to ensure that everyone got enough iodine in their diet. Some people wouldn’t be caught dead sprinkling granulated salt on a gourmet meal these days.
These days, these are the types of salt on the market:
- Kosher salt is a type of large-grained salt that is almost pure sodium chloride.
- Fleur de sel means “flower of the sea”. It’s highly coveted and harvested from the top of salt ponds. It was originally from coast of France, but now is created all over the world.
- Sea salt is harvested by evaporating ponds filled with seawater (like Fleur de sel). It may have traces of minerals and is less processed natural salt.
- Celtic sea salt contains traces of the clay found in the salt flats off France. It has a lot of naturally balanced, healthy minerals.
- Flake salt is manufactured by grinding and then flaking grains of salt crystals. It creates fine salt grains.
- Pink Salt comes from salt crystals harvested near the Himalayas. Iron and zinc give the salt its color.
- Black salt is also called Kala Namak salt. It’s also rock salt from the Himalayas. It has a lot of iron, magnesium and calcium. It also has a very pungent odor and taste. It’s used as a flavour enhancer for certain dishes.
- Red Salt is made from ground red volcanic clay in Hawaii. It has over 80 minerals and is rich in iron.
- Black lava salt is from Hawaii and Cyprus. The salt is then mixed with activated charcoal found in lava in both those regions giving the it its dark color.
- Table salt is the salt we grew up with. It’s refined, has lost many of its healthy minerals and is generally iodized.
But before you get nervous about choosing the wrong salt and maybe causing an international culinary incident, relax. All of these salts (except for Black Kala Namak salt) have very subtle differences in flavor. You can tell them apart more by their appearance than their taste. So, feel free to choose the salt you want to try.