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Back to the Basics: Salt

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Just wondering what type of salt people use. I generally use Morton's Kosher coarse salt, which I like. Except, this last box was too coarse. I have noticed the size definitely affects the strength of the salt.

Just wondering, what is everyone's go to salt as well as maybe a discussion of types of salt to use when. I am a little confused on when to use sea salt and then there is getting into Fleur de Sel and smoked salts.

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For seasoning, I use flor del mar, which is extraordinarily fine sea salt collected by evaporating seawater in earthenware ollas - this is what you probably know as Fleur de Sal; it's the salt that collects on the outside of the olla. For salting water (ie for boiling pasta or bagels), I use the coarse pink rock salt that comes from mines in Loja province (I live in Ecuador). For pickling, I use a coarse rock salt from Ibarra.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt for cooking.

Maldon or a French fleur de sel for finishing.

The latest issue of Simple Cooking pointed out that many of the specialty salts from around the world can be mail-ordered in bulk at a price many times more attractive than paying for the small, curated containers in shops.

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In cooking, to the limited extent that I use salt, I use a fine sea salt - don't remember the current source, but I have a jar of Eden ("Portuguese sea salt triple washed") waiting until this current batch runs out. Sometimes I can find fine sea salt in large bags in the Oriental markets and I'm good for at least a year for little money. I don't know why, but so far I haven't liked the Morton sea salt. It may just be prejudice. However, I keep Morton kosher salt on hand in the handy blue box for kosher salt needs.

Finishing salts: I'm fond of the Viking Smoked Salt from Salt Traders, but I also like some of their other smoked salts: presently at the table we have a small bottle of guava wood smoked salt that I bought as an experiment. It's a little more subtle and floral than the Viking salt. I also have coarse sea salt in a grinder at the table; when my husband reaches for the "lite" salt substitute (blecch) I'll add my real salt to the final dish.


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In general, the sodium content is related to the weight of the salt.

The Diamond Crystal is valued for its nicely flaked texture and has no anti-caking agents. It has half the sodium by volume compared to table salt.

The Morton Kosher has an anti-caking agent and about 50% more sodium than the Diamond Crystal Salt..

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For salting water and general in cooking seasoning, I used iodized table salt. For finishing and salads, I use Kalas Greek sea salt -- I love it's rounded flavor. We have a Canadian brand of pickling salt on the table -- because it's the only one dry enough to not clog the mechanism of my table salt grinder.

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ALL SALTS ARE THE SAME with the following exceptions:

- crystalline structure and therefore, texture

- replacement of NaCl with KCl (Potassium Chloride) or KI (Potassium Iodide, in Iodinated salts) - these might impart a metallic taste

- presence of impurities, e.g. iron and carbon to make coloured salts.

Kosher salt is simply table salt with a different crystalline structure.

In general, the sodium content is related to the weight of the salt.

Sodium content is completely related to the weight of the salt via the following relationship:

1 atomic mass unit (amu) = 1 / Avogadro's number in grams

Avogadro's number = 6.023 x 10^23

Therefore 1 amu = 1.6605 x 10^-23 grams

Using the periodic table, Na = 22.990 amu; Cl = 35.45 amu. Sum = 56.44 amu.

Therefore a single molecule of NaCl = 56.55 * 1.6605 * 10^-23 grams = 9.290 * 10^-22 grams.

Or put in another way, one mole of NaCl (i.e. 6.2033 * 10^23 molecules) = 56.55 grams.

The Diamond Crystal is valued for its nicely flaked texture and has no anti-caking agents. It has half the sodium by volume compared to table salt.

As you have noted, there is a difference between the volume of salt and the weight of salt. The volume of salt is related to the size and shape of the crystals. Making a statement that it has "half the volume of Sodium compared to table salt" simply implies that the other half the volume is taken up by air. In other words, to get the same salinity, you need to add the same amount (i.e. weight) of salt. It is no more healthful than ordinary table salt.
Edited by Keith_W (log)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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if you look at the nutritional facts label for Diamond Crystal it states 280 mg sodium for .7 g serving. which is 40 %

on the nutrition label of sea salt from portugal list NaCl 986 g per kilo which is 98.6 % if you break out the sodium which is about 39% of NaCl you see it is pretty much the same as diamond crystal ( in straight up numbers slightly lower). probaby just statistical variation or a slightly higher mineral content in the sea salt

It may seem misleading to only state sodium content , but when buying salt ,I expect to get salt aka NaCl , listing the sodium content per serving seems more useful from a dietary information standpoint.


Edited by Ashen (log)

"Why is the rum always gone?"

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if you look at the nutritional facts label for Diamond Crystal it states 280 mg sodium for .7 g serving. which is 40 %

Once again, if you look at the periodic table you will see that there is ALWAYS 280mg Sodium for every 700mg of pure NaCl.

Sodium atomic mass unit = 22.99

Chloride atomic mass unit = 35.45

Sum of Sodium Chloride = 58.44 amu

Therefore the mass of Na in relation to NaCl = 22.99 / 58.44 = 39.34%

on the nutrition label of sea salt from portugal list NaCl 986 g per kilo which is 98.6 %

As you say, the remainder is made up of various impurities. If salt is mined, or evaporated from sea water, it will always contain impurities. Basically, ANY salt which is not laboratory grade will have impurities in it. These might include - other salts (organic salts, Potassium salts, Calcium salts, Iodides, etc), water, and anti-caking agent.

Some salts, e.g. fleur de sel, are collected from dry river beds. These are "wet" salts, and have a lower apparent sodium content when the Sodium is quoted by weight. Typically NaCl is about 92% in fleur de sel, with the rest made up with water and organic salts. However - if you want to achieve the same salinity you must add more fleur de sel by weight in comparison to table salt to take into account the water content. For this reason, fleur de sel should be a garnishing salt only. It is too expensive, and too extravagant to use this salt to make brines or dissolve in soup. Remember - the lower apparent Sodium content does not mean that this salt is more healthy. Your tastebuds control the seasoning - so you will still add more, and you will still consume as much.

Since people are concerned about Sodium intake, I should also say something about apparent salinity, i.e. the sensation of saltiness on your tongue. The apparent salinity depends on:

- the availability of free Sodium ions to bind to the taste receptors on your tongue. This means that whatever NaCl is present must be dissolved before you can taste it. The size and shape of the NaCl crystals affect how quickly it will dissolve - granulated salt dissolves faster than the larger crystals of kosher salt, so it will taste more salty. Also, salt on the surface of food tastes more salty than salt dispersed throughout the food - e.g. a brined chicken breast might not taste as salty as an unbrined chicken breast with salt sprinkled on it, even though the brined breast may well contain more salt.

- the presence or absence of other flavouring molecules which might inhibit the taste of salt, for example sugar. Did you know a bowl of cornflakes with milk contains as much salt as seawater? You do not realize it because the salt is locked up in the cornflakes, and the various proteins in milk both locks up and disguises the apparent saltiness.

For me, I keep three types of salt in my pantry:

- ordinary table salt for general use

- cheap granulated rock salt for making brines

- several types garnishing salt - fleur de sel, black salt, smoked salt, truffle salt, pink salt flakes


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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The reason why sodium is measured is because you can get sodium from multiple sources, not just salt. MSG for example, contains about 30% the sodium content of salt.


PS: I am a guy.

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Diamond Crystal kosher for cooking purposes. I keep a multitude of salts for finishing purposes, and whenever we travel, I like to pick up a few of the salts sold in the grocery stores.

While "all salts are the same," per the periodic table of the elements, I don't think they all taste the same. I think terroir plays a role in the taste, but then again, I don't keep a periodic table in my kitchen.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I use morton canning and picklingsalt,its real fine and has no otherchemicals in it,just salt

Bud

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I generally use only Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. The Morton salt contains additives. For finishing I may use other salts - right now I've got some Himalayan pink salt in the cabinet. ... Shel

Just wondering what type of salt people use. I generally use Morton's Kosher coarse salt, which I like. Except, this last box was too coarse. I have noticed the size definitely affects the strength of the salt.

Just wondering, what is everyone's go to salt as well as maybe a discussion of types of salt to use when. I am a little confused on when to use sea salt and then there is getting into Fleur de Sel and smoked salts.


 ... Shel


 

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Diamond or Morton's kosher to cook with and Morton's pickling for mixing brines. Maldons for finishing

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I forgot to mention the salts I use / have

Diamond crystal kosher is our standard cooking and table salt

I have some coarse sea salt from portugal that I use for most brining or salting pasta water and grilling

Britanny grey sea salt that is used for finishing salt and also what we normally sprinkle on foccacia.

bulk coarse pickling salt for when we do homemade dill pickles.

rock salt for the the icecream maker.

MSG

pink salts for curing

an assortment of gifts of specialty finishing salts that don't get used often.

hawaiian red alaea salt

hawaiian black salt

japanese roasted salt

himalayan pink salt

indian black salt/ kala namak

probably could pull out a few more if I went searching.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I generally use only Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. The Morton salt contains additives. For finishing I may use other salts - right now I've got some Himalayan pink salt in the cabinet. ... Shel

Just wondering what type of salt people use. I generally use Morton's Kosher coarse salt, which I like. Except, this last box was too coarse. I have noticed the size definitely affects the strength of the salt.

Just wondering, what is everyone's go to salt as well as maybe a discussion of types of salt to use when. I am a little confused on when to use sea salt and then there is getting into Fleur de Sel and smoked salts.

I just looked at the morton box,and it says,its only salt,nothing else,,,,,

Bud


Edited by heidih Fix quote tags (log)

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Well, I do believe you're mistaken. I just had Toots check the ingredients of the box of Morton's kosher salt that she has in her cabinet, and she said "... besides salt it has yellow Prussiate of soda (anti-caking agent)." ...Shel

I just looked at the morton box,and it says,its only salt,nothing else,,,,,
Bud


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I got offered a fancy set of Flor de Sal d'Estrenc. I feel that it's far beyond the 'bascis', but some of them are very nice and definitely enrich dishes. I have especially come to like the olivas negras variant, which goes predictably well with pasta dishes.

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I use sea salt for most things, fleur de sel for finishing. I'll be making citrus salt soon before the weather changes, and homemade celery salt later in the year. citrus salt for finishing; celery salt for seasoning and finishing.

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I generally use only Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. The Morton salt contains additives. For finishing I may use other salts - right now I've got some Himalayan pink salt in the cabinet. ... ShelJust wondering what type of salt people use. I generally use Morton's Kosher coarse salt, which I like. Except, this last box was too coarse. I have noticed the size definitely affects the strength of the salt.

Just wondering, what is everyone's go to salt as well as maybe a discussion of types of salt to use when. I am a little confused on when to use sea salt and then there is getting into Fleur de Sel and smoked salts.

I just looked at the morton box,and it says,its only salt,nothing else,,,,,

Bud

I just looked and I have both Morton's Kosher salt and pickling salt in the cabinet. The Kosher does indeed list an anti caking agent. The pickling list only salt

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My favorite is Murray River Pink Flaked Salt, the soft-hearted peachy-pink colored salt from Australia's great Murray River Basin. Extracted from underground ancient brines containing sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron it also contains carotene secreted by saline algae which results in its colour which varies from pink to light apricot. This subterranean brine is a unique dinosaur age relic, millions of years old, which yields a large mild flake which melts instantly on the tongue due to its complex shape.It is a 3D hollow-stepped-tetragonal-pyramid crystal and for anyone who has read Masaru Emoto's book, The secret life of water, it doesn't get much better than this. It has multiple Australian Awards and two International awards to prove it is world class.

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I recently fell in love with Maldon salt. While Fleur de sel is great for finishing, I think Maldon is even better because of the beautiful texture.

Not really a fan of smoked salt. Maybe I have tasted the wrong ones, but I found the smokey flavor, when I could even notice it, to be too subtle. For me it's not worth spending any money on.

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