Four Kinds of Salt You Should Know About
When I first heard that kosher salt contains the “kosher symbol,” I assumed that somehow the salt had gone bad, or that something was wrong with it. And I was right – wrong. The salt does not have a “kosher symbol.” It is simply salt that meets certain standards of quality. But if you’re like me and want to use kosher salt on your table, you’re out of luck.
Salt is the key to almost every cuisine on earth. Think about it: Without salt, life on earth would be completely imbalanced. Think about how essential vitamins and minerals are to human life. Without salt, without food, life as we know it would come to an end – and you can bet that without salt, civilization as we know it wouldn’t exist.
But exactly how much salt is too much? There seems to be no precise answer to this question. In general, a salt diet is no more dangerous than one with too much salt; however, a salt-restricted diet is far less healthy than one with too much salt (especially sea salt). Most of the salt in processed foods (a de-ionized sodium) ends up as “free water” within the cells.
So how do we determine what level of salt is “just right?” Well, it turns out that although sea salt and kosher salt are both chemically identical, regarding mineral content, there’s a significant difference in terms of texture. Sea salt is more coarse and gritty, whereas kosher salt tends to be softer and more waxy. And while most sea salts contain just about the right amount of trace minerals – calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc – none of them contain magnesium chloride, which is what causes “the salt taste.”
Fortunately, learning to recognize the difference is not difficult, because each of the four trace minerals can be tasted for yourself by eating certain foods. If you tend to get seaside taste in your mouth, then buying sea salt won’t do much to help. Most sea salts taste better after being combined with other ingredients.
The safest alternative is table salt, which is actually a form of salt that contains a small amount of sodium chloride. If you want to reduce your sodium intake, then table salt is the way to go. Table salt is often used as a dietary supplement as well. Because it contains so few calories and so many trace minerals, many people choose to take it in supplement form instead of buying large quantities at the grocery store. However, keep in mind that because sodium chloride (NaCl) is a soft, hydrating crystal, it will lose its saltiness over time – so purchase salt that is in tablet or crystal form.
For those who love the taste of kosher salt but don’t want to add extra calories, you’ll enjoy the fact that sea salt is also low-calorie. There are sea salt shakers on the market that are designed to dispense a small amount of sea salt to each serving. These shakers are the perfect addition to any diet, because they are readily available and relatively inexpensive. They usually come in a round, oval or square shape, and are quite easy to make.
Most salt shakers contain the four trace minerals mentioned above, which makes them safer to use than table salt, which is usually packed full of unhealthy substances. Today there are several all-natural alternatives to sea salt, including kosher salt, pink salt (which tastes like Cayenne pepper) and Epsom salt. Epsom salt contains sodium and magnesium, while pink salt is made from sea salt. Both contain important trace minerals that contribute to good health.