Salt is another ingredient with a long history and at one time was even used as currency. Salt preserves food, takes flavors to new heights, and adds a distinctive taste. Almost every recipe has salt in the ingredients list, yet little thought is given to which salt is best. Salt is most often used in recipes to help with a chemical reaction in the cooking process, which means it needs to be unaltered. If a recipe calls for salt, it’s best to use kosher or sea salt for all around cooking; iodized salt is more compact and is not hollow like kosher and sea salt because its cell structure is altered when iodine is added. It also cannot absorb water as easily and the cooking is slowed down when water is present. Sea salts also contain higher levels of minerals, which impart unique flavors. Salt is the most commonly used pantry item.
Types of Salt
Very dense mined salt, mostly from New York. Often other chemicals such as iodine and anti-caking agents are added. This is most often used in salt shakers. It’s good for baking applications, but should rarely be used for meat preparation.
Can come from the earth or the sea. It dissolves easily and has a looser cell structure than table salt. This is a good all-purpose salt. It gets its name from its use in kosher meat preparation, though not all kosher salt is certified kosher.
Fleur de sel
Sea salt that has been harvested from evaporating ponds as the salt forms on top of the water. Use this salt on foods after they’ve been cooked.
Sel gris/grey salt
Salt collected from the bottom of evaporating ponds. This salt contains minerals from the sea. It’s ideal for cooking fatty meats and root vegetables.
Hawaiian sea salt
These salts can be either pink or black. The pink color
comes from the red clay soils around the islands, and the
black comes from volcanic ash. This salt is ideal for pork
This salt is mined from deposits in Pakistan, and is said to
be the purest form of salt. It’s often counterfeited by adding red color. Finer grinds are great for general use.