health

What's in your salt shaker? The fascinating varieties of salt and how to use them

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 by: JB Bardot
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition

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(NaturalNews) Let's get right to the point -- most people love salt. Perfecting how to eat salt is an art most have not yet discovered. Not all salts are equal. Alton Brown of Food Network fame explains that all salt is sea salt from one time or another, even if it's found in the Himalayas.

Many natural salts have gained gourmet status; and, are recommended for their rich mineral content providing numerous health benefits. Choosing a salt depends on individual taste preferences and upon the application for which it will be used. So without further ado -- I give you salt.

Kosher salt versus table salt

Table salt is the most common salt found in most kitchens. It's a finely ground, refined form of rock salt, slightly bitter tasting from additives used to keep it from clumping. Most minerals are removed during processing. Some forms of table salt are artificially treated with iodine.

Kosher salt has a milder, less pungent taste than table salt and is the choice of many chefs. The flavor disperses quickly as it dissolves fast. The course crystals are excellent for curing meats.

Course salt

Himalayan Pink Salt: A star among salts, Himalayan salt is typical of coarse salts, with large-grained crystals best used in a salt grinder. Course salts are not as moisture sensitive as other types, allowing them to be stored for long periods. Himalayan pink salt is unrefined and high in minerals, making it a healthful choice. Useful for both seasoning or as a finishing salt.

Seasoning salt versus finishing salt

Brown explains that seasoning salt draws out and enhances the flavor of food during cooking. Finishing salt is sprinkled just before eating, "...adding a burst of salty goodness and crunchy texture at the very end".

Seasoning salts

Kala Namak: Unrefined, authentic Indian salt with a strong sulfuric flavor. Preferred by vegan chefs for adding an egg-like flavor to dishes.

Hawaiian Alaea sea salt: Traditional red-colored salt used for preserving and seasoning foods. Enriched with Alae, a volcanic baked red clay, which adds iron oxide for color and flavor. Earthy and mellow tasting and used in authentic Hawaiian dishes.

French sea salt: Hand harvested from the Atlantic coast of France, this salt is unrefined and high in minerals, especially natural iodine. A perfect replacement for the chemical taste of iodized salt. The salt has a moist texture and is lower in sodium chloride that other salts.

Finishing salts

Italian sea salt: From the coast of Sicily, this unrefined salt is rich in magnesium, iodine, fluorine, potassium and sodium chloride. Delicate and flavorful.

Hawaiian Hiwa Kai or Black sea salt: Black in color due to the addition of activated charcoal, which enhances the flavor. The charcoal is known for its ability to aid a detox as well as neutralize stomach acids, helping to prevent acid reflux.

Celtic sea salt or Grey salt: Grey salt, collected by hand on the Brittany coast in France, is considered one of the best salts by many in the culinary world. The unrefined salt is loaded with minerals, comes in coarse, fine or extra fine grind and provides a rich, luscious flavor.

Fleur de sel: Considered the caviar of salts, this specialty salt is hand harvested from the Guerande region salt ponds in France. The salt blooms like a flower on the water's surface under "just right" weather conditions . It's only harvested once a year. Said to melt slowly on the tongue with a lingering, earthy flavor.

Sprinkling salt

Most restaurant and professional chefs are taught to salt a dish by using the three-fingered pinch method. Although this seems like a lot of salt the first time you take a pinch, in reality it's the equivalent of 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. So salt with style using this method and stay in control to prevent over-salting a dish. What's in your salt cellar?

Sources for this article include:
http://www.thekitchn.com/cooks-talk-a-threefingered-pin-90144
http://www.thekitchn.com/salt-101-alton-brown-and-the-p-104293
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCOB-n9V93A
http://www.realsimple.com
http://homecooking.about.com/od/spices/a/saltvarieties.htm
http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si_gourmet_reference.asp

About the author:
READ MORE OF JEAN (JB) BARDOT'S ARTICLES AT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

The JB Bardot Archives: www.jbbardot.com
Natural News: http://www.naturalnews.com/Author1686.html

JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23

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