It is the most common and widely used food additive anywhere in the world, Salt commonly referred to as Kitchen Salt or just Table salt.
Salt is arguably one of the world’s most important cooking ingredients. Without it, many meals would taste bland and unappealing. However, not all salt is created equal.
There are many varieties to choose from. These include table salt, Himalayan pink salt, Rock salt, sea salt, just to name a few.
Not only do they differ in taste and texture, but also in mineral and sodium content.
Different Types of Salt by Nature
Sea Salt also called bay salt or solar salt is a white salt produced from the evaporation of seawater, rather than by being extracted from sedimentary deposits. It is popularly used in cooking and cosmetics. This comes straight from evaporated sea water. Depending on the area the water is coming from, its particular mineral content, and the method used to evaporate, sea salts can vary quite a bit. The salt is then “drawn” by an expert salt maker to keep the large, flaky crystals intact, a notable quality that makes this particular variety a great finishing salt (though most sea salts are very versatile and can be used as both a dish finisher and a dish builder).
Himalayan Pink salt
Known for its bright pink hue, Himalayan salt is the purest form of salt in the world and is harvested by hand from Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Its color ranges from off-white to deep pink. The salt is rich in minerals – it contains the 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. Himalayan salt is used in spa treatments, as well as in the kitchen. Himalayan salt often contains trace amounts of iron oxide (rust), which gives it a pink color. It also has small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, making it slightly lower in sodium than regular table salt. The lesser-known Bolivian version is mined from the Andes mountains.
Himalayan black salt
This vibrant salt is actually more purple-red than black in its solid form, and when you grind it down it takes on a pinkish hue, but its formal name, kala manak, translates to “black salt”.kala namak is a mixture of Himalayan salt, charcoal, bark, herbs, and seeds that has been sealed in a ceramic jar and fired in a furnace for 24 hours. It is then cooled down and stored away to be aged before being sold. Kala namak is a pungent salt with a beautiful, reddish-black color. This unique salt has a faint sulfurous aroma similar to eggs, and is often used in heartier dishes, as well as vegan dishes to mimic the taste of eggs.
Flake salt a form of salt with dry plate-like crystals. The flake structure is as a result of differing growth rates between the faces and edges of the crystal. Typically taken and crafted from the coastal regions of England, flake salt has most of its water content evaporated, producing a dryer, and more pyramid-like crystal. It dissolves more quickly than some other sea salts, adding dynamic pops of flavor in your dish. It’s perfect as a finishing salt on meats, blending with herbs and spices to create a unique spice blend, or adding onto baked goods for a bold flavor contrast
Rock salt is salt that has been extracted from underground salt mines through the process of mining with dynamite and then crushed further for food use. It can be found under the rugged layers of the Earth’s surface and is scientifically known as halite. Rock salt is a popular salt type for specialty applications.
This salt is slowly smoked over a fire for generally two weeks, and gives your meats and heartier vegetables a smoky and woody flavor. Each smoked sea salt is usually different depending on the wood it is smoked with, such as hickory, oak, mesquite, and alder.
Fleur de sel or flower of salt
this salt is only produced off the coast of Brittany, France during the months of May to September. Because of its paper-thin delicate crystals, fleur de sel can only be extracted on sunny, dry, and slightly breezy days with a traditional wooden rake. This salt is perfect as a finishing salt for savory meals, and even sweets like chocolate and caramel. It features a light briny flavor and a highly desirable blue-gray tint.
This comes from the same salt pans as fleur de sel, but isn’t the cream of the crop. While fleur de sel is harvested from the top layer, sel gris is allowed to fall to the bottom of the salt pan before being harvested, giving it a higher mineral content and a gray color. This falls somewhere between basic sea salt and fleur de sel in both flavor and use, and it can also be ground very finely with volcanic rocks to make what is called sel gris-velvet, which creates an almost buttery feel as it melts on your tongue.Sel gris is a coarse and moist salt, and usually contains about 13 percent residual moisture.
Hawaiian alaea red salt
This varietal is made from standard Hawaiian sea salt (20 percent trace minerals, so pretty low sodium compared to table salt) combined with the red volcanic clay alaea, which is said to have detoxifying properties. It’s used in a lot of native Hawaiian dishes and has historically been used in religious ceremonies. It can add a flash of color as a finishing salt and is also a good choice for those watching their salt intake, since it has lower sodium content than normal table salt.
Hawaiian black lava salt
This salt is made from sea water that evaporates in pools situated on hardened lava flows. The crystals are then mixed with activated coconut charcoal (again, for detoxification). It looks like little bits of hardened lava rock and brings a really earthy flavor along for the ride with just a slight sulfur aroma from the minerals in the lava pools.
Cyprus black lava salt
This one is similar to the Hawaiian version but hails from the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. These large pyramid-shaped crystals are formed during natural solar evaporation and can grow to be over a millimeter in size. Also mixed with activated charcoal, these look like actual pieces of charcoal, have a very mild salt flavor, and can add great texture when used to finish a dish (without overwhelming you with salt).
It might seem odd to flavor a salt since it’s meant to bring out the natural flavors of foods, but it’s a great way to subtly add an extra punch to a dish. Herbs de Provence salt will be less herbal-tasting than the herb mix itself, so you can add just a touch of herbaciousness to something as you finish it.
Also recognized as “sel gris,” Celtic salt is extracted from the mineral-rich seawater on the coastal shores of France. It is harvested using the traditional Celtic methods of raking the salt from the bottom of tidepools after it has sunk and collected further minerals. This slightly moist artisan salt holds a briny taste with a gray hue that is perfect for cooking with or serving on meats and fish!
Japanese Bamboo Salt
Japanese Bamboo Salt is a Korean folk remedy consisting of salt roasted in bamboo. Sea salt is stuffed into bamboo tubes, and the ends plugged with mineral-rich clay; the assembly is roasted up to as many as nine times in a pine-wood kiln. The trace elements in the clay and bamboo are thought to make this form of salt more healthy.
Kosher salt or kitchen salt is edible salt with a larger grain size than typical table salt and without common additives such as iodine. Like table salt, it consists mainly of sodium chloride and may include anticaking agents.The salt is mainly used in cooking, brining meats and cleaning cookware such as cast iron skillets.
Alaska flake sea salt: Harvested directly from the seawater around Sitka, Alaska, this salt has nice, clear, brittle flakes.
New Zealand Lake Grassmere salt: Water is harvested from the deep ocean and brought to the seaside ponds surrounding Lake Grassmere. At the end of the summer, the salt crust is lifted from the bottom of the ponds.
Korean sogeum salt: Used for making kimchi, this salt is solar evaporated on a small island off the coast of Korea and looks like little blocks.
Antarctic sea salt: Antarctic waters are carried up the west coast of Africa by the Benguela current, then pass through an underground aquifer on their way to being dried under the severe African sun coupled with strong offshore winds.
Different Types of Salt by Use
Fine salt is a salt with extremely fine salt grains that are extracted from salt brines. This practice creates a higher yield, cleaner product, and is generally more inexpensive. By pumping water below the Earth’s surface, salt deposits are dissolved, which creates salt brines. From there, the salt brine is brought to the Earth’s surface and the water is evaporated from it to create the salt that we find on our tables and in our cabinets. Fine salt is one of the most popular types of cooking salt.
salt powder is an even finer grain than table salt. Blending easily into recipes and ensuring a uniform taste, salt powder is ideal for coating snack mixes and sprinkling on salads, as well as using on a larger scale in sauces, soups, and batters.
As the key ingredient in the pickling and canning process, the type of salt you choose really does matter. This finer grain salt features a small grain that keeps the quality of the product in its best condition. This salt does not contain additives, minerals, or iodine, and is a much more concentrated salt that will not discolor your produce!
This is the basic stuff you’ll find in most salt shakers. Most table salt is mined, but that salt is put into water, purified of other trace minerals, then re-dehydrated to create a uniform product. Table salts are usually 97 to 99 percent sodium chloride, with some added anti-caking agents, and a lot also include iodide, which is an essential nutrient that can get removed during the purification process (not to be confused with iodine). That’s why the packages of many unrefined kinds of salt say “not a source of iodide.”
Removing toxins from meat before cooking roasts, steak, poultry, and sausages, this curing salt makes serving meat safe for consumers. This large-grained, coarse salt is even sometimes dyed pink with food coloring in an effort to inhibit the growth of bacteria, as well as help to further distinguish it from table salt.
One of the most common flavored salts, truffle salt is a great way to impart a subtle amount of truffle into a dish without needing to buy actual truffles. There are versions that incorporate both black and white truffles, and different brands use different salts mixed with varying amounts of tiny truffle bits.
Alaea Salt is an unrefined sea salt that has been mixed with a red alae volcanic clay that gets its name and color from the reddish, iron-rich volcanic clay alaea. It is part of Native Hawaiian cuisine and is used to season dishes such as kalua, poke, and pipikaula (Hawaiian jerky). Traditionally, it was also used to cleanse, purify and bless tools, canoes, homes and temples.
Salt plays a major role in recipes though Some people believe that salt is bad for you, but the reality is not that simple.
Though refined table salt is the most common type in the West, a number of other varieties exist. These include Celtic, Himalayan, kosher and sea salt.
However, there are few nutritional differences between these various types. While unrefined salts contain fewer additives, the main distinctions involve texture, grain size and flavor.
There are various types of salt that form naturally in the world and knowing their differences can help you provide a better experience with them, whether it be for cooking, canning, curing, or cleaning!