Health Benefits of Celtic Sea Salt, Kosher Salt, and Other Common Salt Types
Enhance Your Food and Improve Your Health with the Right Salt
You'll rarely find a table in any household kitchen or restaurant without a shaker of salt perched upon it, eagerly waiting to douse your food with its' subtle flavor-enhancing abilities. Those tiny white particles sprinkle like delicate flurries of snow over everything from a slice of buttered bread to a hearty steak dinner. Many of you no doubt reach for the salt and season your meal with a robotic-like impulse, before even tasting it.
There is no shame in being a slave to salt, but if you are going to persist in making it a necessary ingredient, you should at least be aware of the many varieties of salt that can be purchased and used in food preparation, cooking, and seasoning. You may find that ordinary table salt just isn't adequate enough, and can sometimes even ruin a dish.
Most varieties of salt can be found in your ordinary, everyday supermarket, but you may need to search for others in a gourmet shop, though unless you are a practicing chef, you most likely wont need the less common salts.
Use table salt sparingly
We are all familiar with table salt, which is essentially available in two varieties; iodized and non-iodized. There is practically no difference between the two, other than the obvious absence of iodine in the non-iodized salt. The iodized salt can sometimes produce a bitter taste when mixed with other ingredients, a steak marinade for example. The iodine has mainly been added to the salt in an effort for people to get a necessary nutrient into their diet if it is not readily available in other foods. Both salts have other additives to keep the particles free-flowing.
Table salt should be used sparingly; since the particles are small, using too much will overpower the other flavors of your meal. Additionally, it should mainly be used to season a completed meal; hence the name "table salt". For preparation, either kosher salt or, to a lesser extent, sea salt should be utilized.
Benefits of Kosher Salt
Most professional chefs prefer using Kosher salt than ordinary table salt because it has a milder taste and a natural coarseness which allows it to stick to food surfaces better. Because no additives are used during production, Kosher has less of that metallic taste that you sometimes taste in iodine treated table salt. This makes Kosher salt taste lighter and purer which makes it ideal for seasoning meats and fishes.
Shape and Consistency
Using Kosher takes some practice because there is little consistency in the sizes of Kosher crystals. Each brand will have a different crystal size so measuring how much Kosher salt to use in your dishes depends more on your taste. After using a particular brand of Kosher for some time, you will acquire a "feel" on how many pinches of salt to use on a dish.
Measuring Kosher Salt
Because Kosher has a cleaner taste than iodine, it usually takes twice as much of Kosher to produce the same flavor as that of table salt. This means that if you are substituting Kosher for table salt, make sure to use twice as much.
Using Kosher Salt
Kosher salt is great for seasoning dishes and for curing meat. You can also use it to add flavor to vegetables when you're steaming or boiling them. It is also great for pickling and curing meats. Kosher salt is also often used for creating a salt crust on a baked fish meal. It does not easily dissolve in liquids, so it is not really a good choice for baking. If you need to use salt for baking cakes and breads, use table salt instead.
You can use several pinches of Kosher salt when boiling potatoes and other vegetables to make them more flavorful. You can do the same when making pasta which will not only make your food tastier, but will also increase the water temperature, thereby decreasing the cooking time.
Health benefits of Celtic Sea Salt
Many studies and health practitioners state that Kosher salt or sea salt is preferred over traditional table salt. Celtic sea salt is usually regarded as being more flavorful as well as one of the healthiest of the many different types of sea salt. You can usually find it in health food stores or higher-end supermarkets.
Celtic sea salt is harvested using natural methods and is usually left in its natural crystal form, which helps it to maintain its fresh, clean flavor, and also a wide array of essential minerals.
The flavor of Celtic Sea Salt is much more fresh when compared to table salt, which has been treated with bleach and anti-caking agents. But even better than the flavor is the nearly eighty vital nutrients and minerals found in Celtic sea salt. All these minerals and nutrients help to:
- cleanse the body
- improve digestion
- increase energy and electrolytes
- improve your immune system
- improve the absorption of nutrition from other foods
Celtic sea salt can also be used in other ways to gain the health benefits. Adding a half-cup of Celtic sea salt to a bath helps to sooth the body and relax you, and mixing ground Celtic sea salt with warm water and then gargling with it can help you clear your sinuses.
Celtic Sea Salt is also kosher.
Other types of sea salt
There are in fact many different varieties of sea salt. You'll find a basic sea salt in your supermarket, but a specialty or gourmet shop should have others, many of them quite expensive.
Smoked sea salt
The salt is smoked over a fire to impart a natural smoky flavor, used primarily for grilling or roasting, and quite popular with salmon.
Hawaiian sea salt
Also known as Alaea, or Hawaiian Red Salt, contains a natural mineral of volcanic red clay that gives this salt a reddish-pink color.
Fleur de Sell
Harvested in France, French sea salt, harvested from the Atlantic, and Flake salt, a light crystalline-type salt. Italian sea salt comes from the Mediterranean Sea, These salts are traditionally used to season a finished meal.
Another type of sea salt also known as Celtic sea salt, found mainly in France. Considered to be the best salt available by the culinary world, it has a hefty price tag attached.
Actually grayish-pink in color. This unrefined salt has a strong sulfuric flavor, and is traditionally used in Indian cuisine.
It is recommended that you use kosher salt for cooking, and basic sea salt as a suitable table salt. If you want to add a more authentic flair to your cooking, then seek out the less common but highly flavorful salts. You will find that many of them add a great enhanced flavor to certain dishes, though the recipes you may be following should steer you in the direction of the proper salt.