Which salt to use


Salt and pepper are the two most important cooking spices/condiments in the culinary world. Yes, by definition they are both a spice and a condiment. Salt is a bit more complicated than pepper is in its use. There are two types of salt, the one that is mined from the earth and the other that comes from an evaporation process of sea water. Chemically, salt is sodium chloride (NaCl.) The way salt is prepared actually denotes its use, but had nothing to do with its flavor. The difference in flavor profiles lies in the associated mineral content contained within the salt.

Salt preparations come in three base formats for cooking purposes: kosher, sea and table salt.

KOSHER salt is course, irregular crystal salt that was designed to extract the largest amount of blood in animal meat preparation. Today, kosher salt still maintains that status, but is also the chef's choice of salt due to it large grain and ease of use. Kosher salt has a clean taste as the mineral content is extremely low due to where the salt is mined. This is why it is good in meat preparation and preservation, pickling foods and canning purposes.

SEA salt comes from exactly its name--the sea. Sea salt comes from all over the world. This type of salt has a distinctive taste depending on what body of water it comes from. This type of salt can also be very colorful, due to it place of origin. The evaporation process for this type of salt makes it quite costly to produce hence, it higher price in the market. This salt is usually reserved as a finishing salt to add that "robusto" flavor enhancement.

TABLE salt is the cheapest form of salt. It is mined salt that is processed into fine crystals. The more you grind it, the salter the taste as the finer crystals hit your taste buds in more places on your tongue. This is why the movie theatre popcorn is so salty. Also, take not that when following a recipe, if the recipe calls for salt it means table salt unless specifically instructed to use kosher salt. Keep in mind that table salt is finer than kosher salt so, a teaspoon of table salt will hold more salt that a teaspoon of kosher salt. Therefore, the two are not directly porportional. Also, table salt has additives to prevent it from caking up and to flow smoothly, as well as iodine for health benefits.

Many of the specialty shops have tubes of various salts you can try from around the world. Give them a try. I know you will like them.

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