Salt: Kosher, Table, or Sea?
Salt: A basic mineral component of land, sea, and cooking. What else is there to know?
I get asked so often about the difference between table salt, sea salt, and Kosher salt that I decided that “basic” salt needs to be demystified. There are also many fancy salts from exotic locations that you will have to sample yourself, because they’re all about the taste on your personal tongue.
Table salt. Facts:
- Often has iodine added, “for your health”. If you never, ever eat fish, dairy, grains, fruits, or vegetables, you’d better use iodized salt.
- Taste: Your tongue will notice the iodine as a slightly bitter, chemical flavor. Do you really want that in your salt? Or that salt in your food?
Kosher salt A. Facts:
- Not all Kosher salt is created the same, so read all three parts.
- Kosher salt has a coarser grain than table salt, which means that it takes up more space and therefore contains less sodium by volume. In other words, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt contains less sodium than 1 teaspoon of table salt.
- Use the kind of salt your recipe says to! If you use regular salt when the recipe suggests Kosher, your recipe will come out saltier than intended. The reverse is also true—if you use Kosher salt in place of regular, your recipe may not be salty enough.
- The flat crystals work well when preparing meat because they dissolve more slowly and have more surface area per grain. Table salt can create “salty spots”, while kosher salt tends to dissolve and coat the meat evenly.
- Taste: Kosher salt has large, rough, flat crystals that take a long time to dissolve. That slow dissolve means you don’t get as much of a “salt” hit (it will seem less salty). And the crystals stay crunchy for longer than other salts.
Kosher salt B: Morton’s. Facts:
- Kosher salt has large crystals that have been rolled flat.
- Taste: Morton’s Kosher salt has Yellow Prussiate of Soda added to it as an anti-caking agent. Yes, you can taste it in there. No, it doesn’t taste *quite* as bad as iodine.
- As far as saltiness goes, it takes 1 1/4 teaspoons of Morton’s Kosher salt to equal the saltiness of Morton’s Table Salt.
Kosher salt C: Diamond Crystal. Facts:
- Diamond has a patented process which creates flat salt crystals with a hollow diamond shape and jagged edges. The hollow shape makes it dissolve faster than other Kosher salts, and the jagged edges help it stick to food better (rather than bouncing off the way table salt—which is cube-shaped—does).
- The jagged edges help to keep it suspended in and blended with other seasonings, for a more even salt distribution.
- Because it’s hollow, AND the crystals are larger than table salt, Diamond is even less salty by volume than the two kinds above. In fact, it’s the least salty salt you can buy, and you need to use twice as much Diamond Crystal Kosher salt in recipes if you want the same saltiness as table salt would give you.
Sea salt. Facts:
- Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of sea water.
- No mystery or surprises. Easy to use.
- My favorite, for cooking and for the table.
- Taste: Clean and salty. No aftertaste. If you use large crystals and a salt grinder, you may use a lot less salt. The large crystals explode on your tongue, so you don’t need a lot to get that pleasant salty zing.
- Because of variations in “saltiness”, here is a guide for measuring salt:
1 tsp table or sea salt = 1 1/4 tsp Morton Kosher salt = 2 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher salt