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Salt Varieties

A brief guide to common salt varieties.

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Morton Salt
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Finishing Salt - Finishing salts have unique flavors and textures and are usually made by hand in small batches. Finishing salts are usually added to food last so that their flavor remains prominent and is not lost in the dish. The unique color and texture of finishing salts also makes them a fantastic garnish.

Fleur de Sel - This French salt which translates to "flower of salt" is harvested by hand from small saltwater ponds in the coastal villages of France. The process used to make flour de del is delicate and requires a great deal of skill. Fleur de del is only harvested from these small salt water ponds during the months of May to September. Fleur de sel has a light, slightly mineraly flavor and is most often used to finish dishes.

Grey Salt - Also known as Celtic Sea Salt, this unrefined, highly flavored salt gets its unique color from the clay that lines the salt water ponds from which it is harvested. The mineral filled clay holds moisture and therefore grey salt is sometimes described as a "moist" salt. Grey salt is available in a variety of grinds and is most often used as a finishing salt.

Iodized Salt - Iodized salt is refined table salt that has had the mineral iodine added as a nutritional supplement. Iodine has been added to table salt since the 1920's to prevent goiters (an enlarged thyroid gland) caused by an iodine deficiency.

Kosher Salt - Salt labeled as Kosher salt can be one of two things: salt that has been certified by a Rabbi or certifying agency such as the Orthodox Union as having met the preparation guidelines described by Jewish law, or salt used for koshering meat. Kosher salt has a large, flake-like texture and is used both in cooking and to top foods such as pretzels.

Pickling Salt - Unlike table salt, pickling salt does not contain anti-caking agents, which can cause clouding of the pickling brine. Pickling salt is usually a very fine texture so that it dissolves quickly in the brine, although large grain versions are available. Pickling salt may also be called canning salt.

Pink Salt (Himalayan)- Pink salt is prized for it's unique color and flavor. The color of pinks salt is caused by the unique blend of minerals found in the region that it is produced, and sometimes by bacteria that produce carotenoids. Pink salts are mined, rather than evaporated, at inland locations in Peru and all along the Himalayas. Pink salt is highly flavored and is usually kept in large grains that provide as much texture as flavor to food. Himalayan pink salt should not be confused with Instacure or Prague salt, both of which are used to cure meats. This salt is artificially dyed pink and is not appropriate for cooking or table use.

Rock Salt - Rock salt is called so because it is mined from the ground rather than evaporated from the sea. This salt is inexpensive and unrefined and is therefore used for applications such as chilling ice-cream makers, providing salt beds during baking, or even de-icing pavement in the winter.

Sea Salt - Sea salt is a broad term for salt produced by evaporating sea water rather than being mined from the ground. Sea salt tends to have a high mineral content and therefore a great deal of flavor. Sea salt comes in many varieties, each with it's own unique flavor, texture, and color.

Smoked Salt - Because of salt's unique properties, flavor compounds from smoke adhere well to it and provide a unique, smoky flavor. Salt has been smoked for thousands of years and is a wonderful way to add flavor to dishes.

Table Salt - This variety of salt is highly refined and is almost pure sodium chloride. Small amounts of anti-caking agents and iodine are sometimes added. Table salt is usually harvested from salt mines and has most, if not all, of its natural minerals removed during the refining process. This provides a very clean, uniform flavor. Table salt is an all-purpose salt used for cooking and for adding to food at the table.

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