What salt should I use on what?

You could argue it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Here’s how to know which one to use, and when.

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If there’s one ingredient we’ll justifiably spend a seemingly outrageously amount of money on, it’ll be salt. It’s an expenditure and purchasing habit we’ll justify when quizzed by less food focused family and friends, and debate with dedication, that ‘not all salt is created equal’.

In ancient times, it was a highly valued commodity for its food preserving properties, while now it’s prized for its ability to heighten flavours and bring out the elements in other foods. With different varieties holding not only various colour and texture, but also taste.

SEA SALT

Derived from seawater, it comes either in rock form (ideal for filling grinders) or already flaked, and is one of the most common varities. Owing to the mineral composition of the seawater, it’s seen to be more flavourful than table salt, and is suitable for most dishes.

KOSHER SALT

It’s a little towards the fine side, but absorbs a great deal of moisture, thereby making it the ideal substance in which to cure meats – vital to the practice of Jewish cooking (hence the name), that dictates meat can not be bloody.

TABLE SALT

The most commonly available and used, it’s taken from mineral deposits deep in the earth, ones that lend a different flavour and texture from the more boutique varieties. Note the iodized table salt in the aisle, it’s been developed to address health concerns, some related to metal development and the thyroid.

FLEUR DE SEL

This prized variety, translates to ‘flower of salt’ a name derived from the process that sees only the flaky top layer from evaporating pools in France’s Brittany harvested.

PICKLING

You’ll need this fine salt, for (not surprisingly) pickling. It’s similar to table salt, but without the additives, so the brine will stay optimally clear while you pickle and your produce retaining of its colour.

PINK SALT

The royalty of salt! Known for its purity and absence of additives, it’s also loaded with magnesium and calcium. Originally harvested in the mountains of Pakistan (hence the name Himalayan Pink Salt), it’s more commonly sourced in Australia from the Murray River, where natural mineralized brines depart the rosy pink colour.

SOUR SALT

This is citric acid, and while the name acid departs a sinister reputation, it’s actually quite weak. Used to naturally conserve and preserve foods, as well as give an acidic taste to foods and drinks.

GOMASHIO

Ever wondered what that container of red hued dust sitting on your table at a Japanese restaurant is? It’s most likely gomashio, the combination of toasted sesame seeds and salt. And as fun fact, in Japanese it describes the head of hear that’s both white and black, e.g the English description of ‘salt and pepper’.

KOREAN OYSTER BAMBOO

Believed, particularly in Taoist medicine, to hold medicinal powers, it sits on most of the tables in Korea. This grey sea salt is roasted in aged bamboo over fire three times, to give salty and sweet notes – the result packs a punch, making just a pinch enough.

Know of another salt we’ve missed? Fill us in and share your salty knowledge. 

Image credits: Wikipedia, The Guardian UK

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