Salt :Basics

There are many different kinds of salt. here’s what i do.

KOSHER SALT – refined

– i use kosher salt for salting pasta water, brining and those types of base operations.

California Sea Salt from Fairway

-I use this salt for seasoning hot food before serving. I just like it it comes in a grinder.

La Baleine – French Fine Sea Salt – ground, unrefined

-I use this salt for seasoning food before cooking where i need a very fine and salty salt.

Kona Flake Salt – unrefined.

I love Hawaiian sea salt. It comes in many colors like black and red. It is rich in volcanic minerals and has the most complex flavors i’ve run across. More important than the flavor is the texture.

While I was eating at my favorite restaurant in Madrid, i had ordered a steak. the owner was there and told the waiter to bring me a specific ramikan of flaked salt. while he didn’t speak english, and my spanish was that good we had a ‘teaching moment’. He had me put the flaked sea salt on my steak, a small section at a time, and eat it before the flake dissolved in the fat too quickly. It added the most delightful ‘crunch’ texture along with an explosion of flavor with each bite as the partially dissolved flakes finished on my tongue with the steak making a most wonderful sensation.

I was surprised that after eating steak for 50 plus years that the experience could be improved upon with a simple, common condiment.

I found this flaked seasalt on the Big Island of Hawaii and fell in love with it.

<a href="http://<a href="; target="_blank"><img border="0" src="//" ></a>""My Favorite Salt! Kona sea salt flakes.

I highly recommend you try it as a finishing / table salt with various meats.

Isn’t all Salt the same?

Is there really is a difference between sea salt and ordinary, table salt?
In short, yes. A ‘salt’ can be at least two elements chemically bonded into minerals. Typically, the mineral salt we associate with food is the chemical formation of sodium and chloride expressed as NaCl.  As a simple mineral, sodium chloride is neither considered refined or unrefined.

Now the percent of NaCl in the abundance of salt products being marketed is another matter all together.  Whether refined, unrefined, table or sea, the amount of NaCl found can and does vary a great deal.

While there is no international standard for sea salt, there is a standard for food grade salt. The Codex Alimentarius Standard is agreed upon by all countries as the standard by which food grade salt is adhered. The critical part of this standard is that food grade salt, regardless of where it comes from, be it sea salt, rock salt or evaporated table salt, must contain a minimum of 97 percent sodium chloride, NaCl.

What’s the big to-do over unrefined/refined salt? 
Table Salt is a refined salt.  Refining removes impurities and is considered to improve its appearance. The refining process can actually extract 82 of the 84 mineral elements found in natural sea salt.  Refining may also use a chemical bleaching process to make the salt whiter, add anti-caking ingredients to prevent the salt from sticking or pulverize salt for consistent crystal size results.  A refined table salt typically contains 99.70 to 99.95% NaCl.
Unrefined sea salt maintains a “naturally occurring balance” between the minerals and elements which are present.  This may seem like a catchy marketing line but it holds a great deal of value to you as a food consumer.  Why?  Because the way in which we assimilate these elements into our system impacts the ability of our system to maintain the functions in which they are involved. “The Sodium Potassium Pump” would be one example.

Compared to ordinary table salt, the percent of NaCl in unrefined salt is significantly lower.  For example, NaCl accounts for 70% -75.4% of Kona Sea Saltâ„¢ while the balance is made up of moisture and other mineral elements, many essential to human health.  You may view more on the Kona Sea Saltâ„¢ Essential Trace and Macro Elements Comparison chart.

What else is there to know about differences in salts? 
Unrefined salt:  Characteristically, nothing is removed from the original salt.  Unrefined salts are not a good source for iodine because of this.  Unrefined salts can contain flavors, spices and herbs, charcoal, mineral clays, and other unique additives to create specialty salts.  Additionally, natural sea salts have a high moisture content and  attract moisture. Keeping it protected in air tight containers can help prevent “clumping” – a characteristic of a good natural sea salt.

Refined salt:  Refined salt looks great, flows easily, and crystals are uniform in size – all the result of  the addition of anti-caking, free flowing, bleaching, and/or conditioning agents.  These agents make up the remaining percentage of refined salt; they are not to be confused with essential mineral elements removed as “impurities” from the salt in its natural form.  Refining agents added can include sodium ferrocyanide, ammonium citrate, and aluminum silicate.

According to a report on, “The additives which prevent the refined salt from absorbing water while it is in the box, also prevent the refined salt from being properly absorbed in your body. This is why we are constantly being told that it is harmful to health to consume too much salt.”

Iodine and iodine stabilizers are also added to refined salt. It is an essential element in  human health, and is added to refined salt to support thyroid function and help prevent goiter.(1)   The amount of iodine that is added to refined salt, approximately 0.01 percent, may not, however, be sufficient to optimize thyroid functioning and meet the body’s other iodine needs. (2) 
(1), (2), Dr. David Brownstein, MD

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