kosher salt (also known as sea salt) has a long history. The earliest archaeological finds of kosher salt date from the 2nd millennium B.C. Although kosher salt was used more as food seasoning, it’s actually a type of salt that contains a concentration of minerals which makes it ideal for use as an unrefined mineral supplement. The traditional preparation of kosher salt involves melting it in an open fire or, if it has been prepared beforehand, in a special laboratory oven. After the salt has been melted, it is covered with fat.
Sea salt has a long history as well, but it is much easier to obtain today. Sea salt consists of sodium chloride, calcium and other elements and is typically sold in containers called sea salt shakers. Sea salt shakers are usually made out of glass because it is translucent. Sea salts are the most commonly used table salt and are often seen on deli and kosher grocery shelves across the country. They’re also used in catering and party planning and in a variety of cookery products. And they’re used frequently as a natural preservative in pickles and relishes.
Table salt isn’t a true salt at all, despite what you may have been taught. It is a very common household item containing mostly salt and not sulfur or other elements. Table salt does not have any nutrients in its makeup other than sodium and calcium chloride, and it’s not even remotely beneficial for seasoning foods. What table salt does have is a higher concentration of potassium chloride, magnesium and phosphorus. These are beneficial for our bodies, but it is the excess sodium in the mix that does most harm.
When shopping for kosher salt at the grocery store, look for the kosher salt symbol displayed next to the table salt. This symbol is either etched into the crystal or etched in metal. Either way, kosher salt should be bought with table salt and not sea salt or pink sea salts. Sea salt has less sodium and is more concentrated. Pink sea salts have more sodium, but not enough to make a significant difference in seasoning foods.
Seasoning with kosher salt takes some time, so don’t put it in the food immediately. The flavor will become more prominent as it sits on the heat. A trick many people use is to let the salt sit on the countertop for a few minutes, then clean up any leftover residue with a damp cloth. Kosher-style finishing salts are available in various grains and sizes, and there is no shortage of brands and flavors. For example, there are soft kosher-style coarse grains, kosher-style medium grains and fine grains. Each of these salt grades have their own distinctive taste and can be used interchangeably with each other.
Many of these kosher salts have names like kosher salt, kosher albochi, kosher bezzil, or kosher salt bezel. This shows that the variations in the kosher recipe calling for different ingredients, such as kosher albochi or kosher salt bezel have to do with the specific brand of salt used in cooking. These different types are used because they are more effective in increasing the flavors of foods, plus they are more affordable to buy.
Some of the kosher table salt products include natural sea salt deposits which have been irradiated, while others have traces of other minerals, like potassium, iron, manganese and other trace minerals. Natural sea salt tends to be cheaper than manufacturing table salt. Table salt deposits have minerals that enhance the flavor of foods, but the longer they are allowed to sit on the heat, the less of the minerals they absorb.
So, whether you purchase kosher salt online, at your local kosher store, or from a kosher salt manufacturer, remember that the quality is more important than the cost. Be sure to read labels carefully to check for both sodium content and other impurities that may not be visible to the naked eye. When purchasing kosher salt, remember that the kosher style symbolizes the purity of the food, not the price. The higher the quality, the more expensive the product will be.
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