Seasoning smarts: Kosher salt vs other salt varieties
Discover kosher salt’s composition, applications and how it stacks up against other salt varieties.
Salt, an essential ingredient in the culinary world, takes centre stage as we delve into the intricacies of kosher salt and see how it compares to other types of salt.
Why kosher salt is a favourite with chefs
Kosher salt, a masterful amalgamation of sodium chloride, possesses a remarkable distinction – it remains unfortified from additives and does not contain trace minerals. This distinctively “pure” makeup shapes its unique flavour profile.
Renowned for its coarse texture, kosher salt finds favour among chefs and cooks worldwide. Its larger grains not only simplify handling during cooking but also contribute to its unmistakable taste, making it a coveted ingredient.
But despite its prevalence, kosher salt often raises questions. In this article, we look to demystify its nature and compare it to salt siblings such as sea salt, Himalayan salt and table salt.
An in-depth look at kosher salt
A closer look at kosher salt reveals that it is extracted from salt deposits, white in colour and, due to its lack of iodisation, is considered to be a pure form of sodium chloride.
Kosher salt’s “purity” gives it a pristine and unique flavour, rendering it adaptable across many culinary spectrums – from all your seasoning needs to curing, pickling and more!
Despite the name, it is important to note that not all brands of kosher salt are kosher certified or considered to be kosher. It is called “kosher salt” because its large grain size makes it suitable for the koshering process, which involves removing the blood from meat or poultry prior to preparation.
What is Himalayan salt?
Similar to kosher salt, Himalayan salt derives from sodium chloride and generally avoids iodisation.
Sourced from Pakistan’s Khewra Salt Mine, Himalayan salt boasts a characteristic pink hue and contains trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, chromium, magnesium and sulfate.
Himalayan salt tends to impart a mild salt flavour – this subtle salinity is ideal for baking and various seasoning needs in the kitchen. Himalayan salt blocks can also be used when cooking steaks, seafood and vegetables.
Although Himalayan salt is milder in flavour (especially when compared to table salt and sea salt), it is important to note that it cannot be used as a low-sodium alternative.
What is table salt?
Like kosher salt, table salt is made up of sodium chloride mined from salt deposits, but most common forms of table salt have been fortified with iodine and contain anti-clumping agents.
While the iodisation process boosts iodine in your diet, table salt tends to have a slightly bitter aftertaste. However, it is perfectly suited to seasoning dishes during or after cooking and for baking purposes.
What is sea salt?
Laden with trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, sea salt doesn’t usually undergo any iodisation processing.
Sea salt often stands out due to its flake appearance and is a product of evaporated seawater. Its robust flavour, coupled with a less intense saltiness and a sweet aftertaste, enhances post-cooking seasoning and curing of meat.
How to choose your seasoning companion
Although there may be slight variations between the different salt varieties in terms of composition, taste, culinary uses or even appearance, they are all good sources of sodium – which your body needs to maintain fluid balance and support nerve and muscle function.
Many people might opt for kosher salt as it isn’t iodised and doesn’t contain any additives or trace minerals, but the overall health differences between the salt varieties are minimal.
The only time you might want to prioritise opting for iodised salt is if you don’t regularly consume foods that are rich in iodine but, ultimately, your ideal seasoning journey should be guided by personal inclinations and, of course, what you plan to do with the salt.