Salt has been a source of nourishment for mankind since before recorded history. Its healing properties have been known since the beginnings of time, when the earliest man discovered that adding salt to water could release the body’s power from disease. Salt is important for the flavor and texture of many foods. It can improve the taste of baked food and can make foods taste better if they are cooked at a higher temperature. And, without salt, bread would not be baked so nicely.
Kosher salt is naturally occurring and has been used for removing body surface blood from meat. However, in recent years, kosher salt has become recognized for having a number of other beneficial qualities, including the ability to improve texture, flavor and nutritive value. Most kosher salt today contains no additives or other minerals.
Most salt recipes are based on one or two ingredients. The first is the seasonings. The second ingredient is the salt content of the meat or fish being cooked. It is common for seasoned foods to have a number of herbs like Rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and parsley to name a few. Each has its own properties that enhance the flavor of the dish.
Salt is an important component in preparing a wide range of dishes. The table salt we are used to eating at the average American dining room table is sodium chloride. Table salt helps keep the table fresh and moist, which is especially important during hot summer days. During the winter months table salt causes the food to retain more moisture than it loses. We often think of salt as necessary only when cooking, but table salt are also an important addition to our dietary intake.
Salt helps in the preservation of many foods. Sea salt and kosher salt are examples of salty products that help retain moisture and flavor. Sea salt has been shown to have health benefits including reduced blood pressure and reduced heart problems. Although sea salt has a high sodium concentration, its trace minerals make it healthy. Kosher salt has trace minerals found in nature, and its sodium content is less than sea salt.
The saltiness of certain foods can be affected by the cooking process. When fish is cooked, its moisture is lost and so too is its salt concentration. Sea salt and kosher salt will retain more of the original flavor of the fish or chicken because it is not exposed to heat. Cooking can change the flavor of salty foods dramatically.
There is another benefit to using kosher salt for seasoning meat. In traditional cooking it is common for salt to add a buttery flavor to the food, particularly when it is not seasoned. The salt actually enhances this flavor. Using kosher salt in place of traditional salt will give a more subtle but significant flavor change that enhances the dish’s overall flavor.
Most people are familiar with brine and evaporation as methods of salt curing used in restaurants. However, kosher salt uses a completely different cooking method to achieve brine-induced flavor. This salt’s molecules are tightly interlocked, which causes it to absorb water faster than regular salt. It is often used to salt cure foods like fruits, vegetables and meats to bring out their natural flavor. It has a low salt concentration and should not cause any evaporation.
Iodine is one of the trace minerals that contribute to good health. Regular table salt, when exposed to water, loses most of its iodine content, which is crucial to human health. Because kosher salt is not exposed to water, the remaining iodine is preserved in its crystal structure. Consuming foods fortified with iodine can help prevent iodine deficiency.
Iodine is found in seawater, and it is not mined from seawater. Certain species of sea kelp do manufacture iodine on their own, but most inland species are dependent on fish and other aquatic life for their nutritional needs. When these creatures die, they drop large amounts of vital nutrients back into the water. This is how we get our daily iodine intake.
Iodine is essential for proper brain function and other bodily functions. Many of the world’s population relies on seawater to meet their bodies’ iodine requirements. However, sea salt contains a variety of chemical additives, such as iodine and other contaminants. Although kosher salt does not contain any chemicals, it is better to be aware of the sources of your salt and choose the salt that will provide the most benefits to your body.