Salt: An Overview of the Different Types of This Favorite Seasoning!
Gourmet chefs around the world are hailing the benefits of different types of salt and use a variety of salts for cooking and seasoning different dishes. Some people believe that certain types of salt also offer several health benefits.
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between iodized and non-iodized salt, or are curious about the different types of sea salts, here’s an overview of the different types of this favorite seasoning:
Sea Salt vs. Regular Salt
Many people believe sea salt has a lot more flavor than regular table salt, and prefer to use it in cooking and baking to bring out the natural flavors of the food. You might also find sea salt used at the spa, because it has a coarse texture that turns it into a great skin exfoliator. When it comes to the health benefits of sea salt and kosher salt, experts say there really isn’t a difference. According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., a Mayo Clinic nutritionist, the only real difference between sea salt and kosher salt is the texture and the taste. Both salts have the same nutritional value spoon for spoon, so you won’t be doing your body any favors by choosing one over the other.
However, there is one important nutritional fact to be aware of. Salt that contains iodine is essential for a healthy thyroid, so if you’re not getting enough iodine in your diet, you may need to eat iodized kosher salt, or natural sea salt on a regular basis. Sea salt is essentially a more ‘natural’ form of salt because it undergoes few (if any) purification processes, and has a distinct, natural flavor. There are dozens different types of sea salts available, so you might consider taste-testing a variety of salts before you find your favorite.
Different Types of Salt
Some of the most popular types of salts used in gourmet cooking include:
Black salt – a blend of minerals that has a strong sulfur odor. This type of salt is found throughout India and the Middle East, and is often used in snack foods.
Hawaiian sea salt – produced in the oceans of Hawaii, this salt has a very mellow flavor and is often used to season fresh fish and vegetables.
Grey salt – an organic salt from Brittany, France that has a light purple-grey hue. It is usually available both as coarse or fine grain salt, and blends easily with most hot dishes.
Pretzel salt – this large-grain salt doesn’t melt easily and it’s usually used to cover pretzel rods or dried breadsticks. It’s also one of the strongest types of salts available.
Rock salt – this salt isn’t usually used in cooking because it has such large crystals and a very strong flavor. You might use this type of salt to make ice cream.
Popcorn salt – one of the finest types of salts available, this salt is usually dusted over popcorn and melts very easily. You can use it to season dishes, but it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way!
Experiment with different types of salt in your cooking and baking so that you can flavor your food in different ways. Salt is an important element of almost every dish, and getting the proportions right will help you create a great-tasting dish!