With at least 150 artisan salts on the market, there’s a salt for just about every purpose. Below is a list of some of the most widely available types.
• Appearance: Combined with activated charcoal; sulfuric aroma and silky texture
• Best uses: Finishing salt; sharp, earthy flavor excellent on sushi or grilled meats and veggies
• Appearance: Pale yellow to brown
• Best uses: Cooking and finishing salts; sweet, woody, deep, smoky and fruity flavors (depending on type and age of wood used for smoking)
• Appearance: Combined with red clay; crunchy texture
• Best uses: Great for roasting, grilling and in rubs; mineral and buttery flavors go well with seafood
• Appearance: Fine white crystals
• Best uses: Cooking salt; fresh, clean flavor; enriches flavor but does not call attention to itself
• Appearance: Thin, flat white crystals
• Best uses: Finishing salt from English coast; delicate flavor; dissolves slowly on the tongue
• Appearance: Pink; also comes in whole slabs useful for cooking and serving
• Best uses: Potent cooking and finishing salt; rich mineral flavor pairs well with poultry, fish, and in brines and sauces
Gray Sea Salt/Sel Gris
• Appearance: Coarse, irregular gray to green crystals
• Best uses: Cooking and finishing; briny mineral flavor works well with meats, veggies, seafood, garlic, cumin and thyme; lasting flavor and crunch in hearty foods
Fleur de Sel
• Appearance: Fine, irregular white crystals
• Best uses: Caviar of finishing salts, made only from the delicate crystals that blossom on the surface of crystallizing sea salts; delicate flavor; violet-like aroma; maintains integrity on wet foods
Salt In Your Food
Cooking salts are perfect for uses where they will eventually commingle with other flavors. Use finishing salts to season food after you prepare it, and to add texture and bursts of flavor.
Salt is a crucial part of our diets and our bodies, yet years of dietary advice tells us to limit our intake. Emerging science may suggest salt isn’t as bad as we once thought.
Salt is the only rock we eat. Nearly every recipe, from lentil soup to chocolate chip cookies, calls for salt. It is essential to cooking, and just as essential to our survival. Wars have been waged and international trade routes forged all because of the supreme value of an inorganic mineral. Did you know that salt was once use as currency?
Salt is an essential component of many of the world’s greatest foods, including bread, cheese and cured meats. In recipes, it performs vital functions from thwarting bacteria to regulating yeast. As sodium chloride dissolves in liquid, it splits into individual atoms. Because these molecules are small and mobile, they penetrate other ingredients and cause cellular changes. For example, they draw water out of cells. If enough salt is present, the kinds of bacteria that spoil foods are suppressed, and those that create new flavors thrive. Until modern times, salt was the primary means of making food last longer. We still use salt in preserving foods from bacon to pickles.
In fact, salt has more than 14,000 known uses. Paramount is its ability to amplify flavor in almost all foods. Salt also helps retain color in cooked vegetables, makes water boil faster, helps freeze ice cream, and makes bitter and sour foods taste less so.
Salt In Our Bodies
The relationship between salt and blood pressure is this: Our bodies retain water in order to maintain a stable concentration of sodium in our blood. The more salt in our bodies, the more water. This, in turn, expands blood vessels, causing blood pressure to spike at least briefly until the kidneys eliminate the salt and water. Many experts believe that continued high blood pressure leads to heart disease, stroke and eventually premature death.
Now, recent research may support the idea that extremely low salt intake could be bad for us. “The idea that eating less salt can worsen health outcomes may sound bizarre, but it also has biological plausibility,” Taubes says. A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report came to the same conclusion. The report’s researchers say there is not enough evidence to support the dietary guidelines encouraging Americans to reduce sodium consumption to very low levels (1,500 mg per day, or about half a teaspoon), and that doing so can cause harm in some cases.
Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, says some people are sensitive to salt, and that their blood pressure will go down with reduced salt. But “there’s another (probably larger) percentage of the population who doesn’t respond,” she says. “They are people who can eat as much salt as they want and still their blood pressure is low.”
The evidence speaks for itself; salt is not the real cause of the problem. Salt actually helps prevent problems rather than cause them. (just my opinion based on the facts)
We can talk about that at a later date, but until then, enjoy your salt!