All About Kosher Salt
For centuries before our time salt was used for a number of purposes in almost every civilization around the world. It was the common salt used by everyone and it was usually known as table salt. Because chemically there’s no significant difference between common salt that is freshwater or sea salt. As a matter of fact, because common salt is Sodium chloride sourced from sea salt beds and then purified to remove impurities.
In recent years there has been a trend toward buying sea salt more than kosher salt. That is because sea salt is harvested much closer to the shoreline. As a result kosher salt mined inland only has a brief history. One of the biggest factors in the increase in sea salt sales has been the rising popularity of fine dining cuisine worldwide. As with fine wines, the world is discovering what kosher salt can be used for. As we go on our search to find better kosher salt products we will likely see more innovation along this journey.
Some people believe fine sea salt and pickling salt are one in the same thing. In fact, they are not. Pickling salt does not contain any type of additives to preserve its saltiness. A sea salt on the other hand contains an organic substance such as sea salt (sodium chloride) and other minerals, usually sulfuric, that serves to enhance its flavor and improve the palatability.
Salt is used for many different types of food preparation. It is often added during the freezing process of meats, poultry and fish because it makes the preparation more tender and salty in taste. In pickling, salt helps preserve foods for a longer period of time without having to add chemicals such as salt blockers. In kosher restaurants there are even more uses for sea salt pickling salt. In kosher parve foods it is used to improve the taste and texture of the meat.
Not only are kosher salt and sea salt used for culinary purposes, but they are also used in some medicinal ways as well. Blood pressure medication for patients suffering from hypertension usually contains kosher salt because of the properties it contains that inhibit blood platelets. Salt also has properties that decrease cholesterol, prevent infections and increase blood flow. Some forms contain trace minerals like potassium and magnesium.
A large variety of kosher salt and sea salt products are available in the market today. Each has its own unique texture and attributes that make it ideal for use in food preparations. The most notable among these attributes is the texture and the absorbent quality of kosher salt. Kosher table salt has a coarse texture, while sea salt has a silky texture. Because the coarse kosher salt holds more water, it is good for absorbing liquids and it is considered an excellent cooking agent for fish and meats.
Today kosher salt and sea salt are made in different forms. There are kosher salt products that are derived from kosher salt by means of a refinery’s process. These products are more expensive than the regular kosher salt because the process of extraction requires more energy and time. Nevertheless, they are more convenient and cost-effective, which makes them ideal for people on a tight budget.
Most kosher salt comes in two basic forms: kosher salt flakes and kosher salt pieces. Kosher salt flakes have the same benefits as sea salt, but they lack the texture and flavor of the sea salt. Kosher salt pieces resemble coarse sand and are used for cooking and baking. They are also ideal for garnishing and mixing with vinegars and dyes since they resemble small pieces of salt.