Salt is one of the three main ingredients used in cooking. Although the chemical composition of all three commonly used spices is quite similar, the density and texture of each type of salt vary. To get a better understanding of the differences between coarse salt, kosher salt, sea salt, and table salt, let’s start with the latter two. Refined salt is made by removing the saltiness and mineral content from salt rocks, thus reducing its volume by crushing the rock and then grinding it. This removes any impurities, which makes the salt less dense and easier to store.
Kosher salt is generally made by soaking and then straining the salt and water solution into brine or pickling salt, leaving behind the minerals and saltiness of course. There are two types of kosher salt, depending on where it is produced. Classic kosher salt is produced in Israel, while pickling salt is produced in various other countries, including South Africa, Australia, India, and Turkey.
Flakes of kosher salt are the most popular salt used for salt licks and other salt-related cooking processes. Its naturally light gray color makes it easy to see where it has been applied. Because it is highly concentrated, kosher salt does not have as much flavor as table salt. Its distinctive flavor comes from minerals from the mineral content of sea salt and its saltiness. As a result, using kosher salt during the cooking process requires more attention when it comes to its use and cleanup.
Sea salt has a very high concentration of minerals, including sulfur, magnesium, and potassium, as well as iron and manganese. It is also rich in sodium, copper, and zinc, making it ideal for high-fat and high-caffeine foods. However, unlike kosher salt, sea salt does not contain any boron, making it even less desirable than table salt. Most sea salts come from dehydrated seawater, so they are significantly lower in minerals compared to kosher products.
Most table salt contains sodium, chloride, and phosphorus. The problem is that many people don’t know how to properly judge their intake of salt, because it often goes by different names (such as table salt, sea salt, and table salt) and appears in a variety of different packaging. While technically “regular” table salt is indeed sodium chloride, it is usually processed with other ingredients to further increase the mineral and salt content. This is why you should avoid using regular table salt in cooking, unless it is prepared in a special container with a very high salt concentration (around 0.7 grams per pound).
Kosher salt is often purchased in smaller bags and containers than table salt. This is because kosher salt is much lower in sodium and it contains trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iodine, which help bring out the flavor in foods and give them their distinct flavor. Surprisingly, there are also trace minerals in this type of salt that aren’t necessarily recognized by the FDA as having health benefits. For example, iodine has been found to help thyroid gland function. Trace minerals in kosher salt have been shown to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower stomach acid, and aid in the treatment of hypertension. By purchasing kosher salt in its natural, unprocessed form, you can reap all the benefits of these trace minerals.
Deionized salt is a salt that contain trace amounts of magnesium and iron, but no saltiness. It has been processed to remove its mineral content and this salt is often used in baking recipes, but because it lacks saltiness, it does not have the same flavor as sea salt does, and it does not enhance the flavor of foods. Also, this salt does not contain sodium as well. It is considered to be a seasoning salt, and should be used sparingly.
No matter what kind of salt you use in your cooking, you can rest assured that the salt you buy is 100% kosher. Kosher salt is created by passing a salt block through an activated carbon filter to remove impurities. Afterward, it is further purified by undergoing several other processes such as electrochemical washing and mechanical filtration. The result is a crystal salt that has been purified and treated with kosher standards.