COOKING SALT CHOICES

admin | Food & Beverages | 04 Oct 2021 12:40:47
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Cooking salt choices…

Salt is creating magic in everyday life. It brings out the full flavour in your favourite dishes. Many foods, especially fruit and vegetables may taste great on their own. They may have intense flavours. However, with the correct dose of punchy salt, it boosts the flavour into new territory. For example, makes tomatoes taste brilliant. So far, it unlocks a side to watermelon too. Salt transforms meat into an epic luscious focal dish.

Scientifically, salt is a chemical compound, sodium chloride. Sodium as salt intake is an important ingredient in life. Salt stimulates nerve impulses. It maintains electrolytes and fluids in balance too. Sodium ions are critical heart activity and help metabolic functions. However, consuming too much salt may lead to high blood pressure and heart diseases. Salt is one of the oldest and widely used seasonings. It is a food preservation method for humankind too. So far, salt production dates back as far as 8000 years. Hence, saltiness is one of the five basic tastes that we enjoy. Other tastes are sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and umami.  

Common table salt

Table salt is the most common and fine grain. You find them in most saltshakers. So far, most table salts are extracted from mines. Salt is then put in water to purify other trace minerals. It is then re-hydrated to make a consistent product. Thus far, table salts are normally 97 to 99 percent sodium chloride. Other components are anti-caking agents and iodide, which is the main nutrient. The purification process may remove iodide. Hence several packages of many unrefined types of salt may state ‘not a source of iodide’. You should not confuse iodide with iodine.

Kosher salt

Kosher salt is coarse-grain kitchen salt. This is a larger crystal refined salt. It may contain additives like iodine and anti-caking agents. Kosher salt is mostly used for cooking and may not end up at the table. Despite the name, they are not certified by hechsher to confirm meeting kosher requirements. However, some brands are certified. The kosher name is derived from the type of large crystal salt that is used in making meats kosher. Many people refer to it as koshering salt. 

Sea salt origin

Sea salt is made from evaporating seawater. So, it depends on the area the water is coming from, it may have specific mineral contents. Thus far, the evaporation method may reflect quite a bit on mineral contents too. So, Maldon salt is mostly harvested off the coast of Great Britain. They are large and fragile flakes crafted by boiling seawater. The first stage is to remove impurities and then boiled until crystallisation. The salt is then drawn by a special salt maker to keep the large flaky crystals perfect. This variety is of remarkable quality which makes it the perfect finishing salt. Most sea salts are versatile and are renowned to be dish finishers and dish builders.    

A common variation to sea salt is to craft smoked foods. Probably its origin was on the beach where salt was drying near fish. Thus, they may have started smoking fish.

Fleur de sel

In France and Italy, it is known as the ‘flower of salt’. With its origin from the Brittany coast in France, many consider it to be the Cadillac of salts. Thus far, these salts are neither crushed nor ground. They are harvested from the surface of saltwater ponds as the top layer begins to crystalise. Fleur de sel is lower in sodium than common salt. However, it has higher mineral content and a light saline flavour. So, the little crystals are sticky. It is used more as a condiment to finish a dish a seasoning. 

Thus far, the Italian version of fleur de sel is crafted in a similar way. However, with different water. So, the flavour is less saline and has lower minerals.

Sel Gris or grey salt

Grey salts are moist and grey. It reflects the mineral content and the scope to hold water. Sel Gris may come from the same salt pans as fleur de sel. However, it is not the cream of the crop. Sel Gris is allowed to fall to the bottom of the pan before the harvest. Thus, it gives it a grey colour. So far, the flavour and use range between the common salt and fleur de sel. Hence, it may be ground very finely using volcanic rocks to craft Sel Gris-velvet. This creates a buttery feel and easily melts on the tongue. It also credits with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure

Pink salt fascination

Pink Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt. It is mined from the foothills of the Himalayas in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It mainly comes from the Khewra salt mine. Many people may describe it as one of the purest salts in the market. They claim many health benefits. It is distinguished for its bright pink tint. The pink colour comes from the trace amounts of iron oxide. It has trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium too.

Thus far, pink salt is principally sodium chloride. It is in the same chemical range as table salt. The lesser-known, Bolivian version comes from the mines in the Andes mountains.

Himalayan black salt illusion

It is a vibrant salt, and actually more purple-red than black in its natural form. When you grind it down, it forms a pinkish tint. However, its formal name is kala namak which means black salt. Thus far, the unique colour comes from the mineral known as greigite. Its pungent smell comes from the sulfur content. Black salt has a cool and square crystal formation. Hence some pieces may look synthetic similar to broken safety glass.

So, when using black salt properly, it may give vegetarian foods the taste of eggs. However, if you use it incorrectly it may make your food taste like salty rotten eggs.

Hawaiian alaea red salt

The native Hawaiians consider Red Alaea clay to be a sacred and powerful healing tool. It was used in ancient medicine to treat broken bones, burns, and many other ailments. Thus far, other uses were to purify, cleanse, and bless canoes, homes, and temples.

So, this varietal is crafted from the normal Hawaiian sea salt which has 20 percent trace elements. Hence, it is low in sodium content in comparison to table salt. When combined with the red volcanic clay alaea, it is known to have detoxifying elements. So, it is used in many native Hawaiian recipes and religious ceremonies. When used as a finishing salt, it adds a flash of colour. So far, it is a good choice for those who watch salt intake because it has a lower sodium content.  

Hawaiian black lava salt

It is a gourmet salt. Hawaiian black lava salt is smoky salt that gives an exotic taste to any dish. Only a few salts are as distinct as Hawaiian black lava salt. So, it is made from seawater which evaporates in pools located on seasoned lava flows. Then, the crystals are blended with stimulated coconut charcoal. Thus far, it may look like small pieces of hardened lava rock. Hence, it brings a real earthy flavour with a slight sulfur aroma. It comes from the minerals in the lava pools

In fact, the burnt coconut shell activated charcoal adds the key delectable characteristics. So, it distinguishes the smoky salt from Himalayan pink salt. It’s not only the colour and taste, however, its generous levels of antioxidant qualities. Hence, it helps flush out toxins from your system. Once you try the black volcanic salt, it may become a staple in your pantry.

Truffle salt flavours

Truffle salts are the most common type of flavoured salts. It is an excellent way to impart an exquisite amount of truffle into a dish. There is no need to buy real truffles. Thus far, there are variants that incorporate black and white truffles. So, different brands may use various salts combined with different amounts of small truffle pieces. Truffle salts are mostly superb for finishing simple dishes that may need the oomph.

Other regional variants

The sea salt variants are almost limitless. Normally, anywhere there is salt water, there may be salt production. Kona deep water sea salt is obtained from the depths of almost 700 meters off the Hawaiian coastline. It is then evaporated in sun. So, this salt is mostly 78 percent sodium and rich in minerals. It has a clean flavour. Alaska flake sea salt is harvested directly from the seawater near Sitka, Alaska. It is a clear, nice, and brittle flake. So far, New Zealand Lake Grassmere salt is harvested from the deep ocean too. It is brought to the seaside ponds around Lake Grassmere. Thus far, salt crust is lifted from the bottom of the ponds at the end of summer. Antarctic sea salt is created by Antarctic waters carried up the west coast of Africa by the Benguela current. It then passes through an underground aquifer. Then it is to be dried under the severe conditions of the African sun. It connects with strong offshore winds to provide optimum conditions.

Persian blue diamond salt with its unique mineral contents gives small flecks of blue on the crystals. Salt is mined from the salt mines in Semnan province in ancient Persia. Korean sogeum salt are used to make kimchi. So far, this salt is solar evaporated on an island off the Korean coast. It looks like small blocks. Toasted dried worm larvae are ground with rock salt and chilli peppers to make Sal de Gusano. It is a traditional Mexican salt. Thus far, it is used as a smoky seasoning and an accompaniment to mezcal.

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