You may have heard about kosher salt and coarse salt. But do you really know what each of them is? Below are the basic differences between the two. Then, I’ll help you choose the kind that’s right for your needs. All good kosher salt and coarse salt are harvested from the same place – a mountain slope.
To start, it matters little to learn how salt works. First and foremost, it matters to understand your salt sources. As table salt is Sodium chloride harvested from sea salt deposits and then purified to remove impurities. The “real” kosher salt is made by a process called “desalination.” It removes salt ions, which kosher and sea salt both lack. So sea salt has more purity.
Kosher salt, on the other hand, is harvested from the Dead Sea salt deposit and is also purified (by being boiled in mineral water). Unlike sea salt, which you buy in the grocery store, fine sea salt – also harvested from the Dead Sea – has no additives to make it safer or more palatable. It’s so pure that you can’t, under any circumstances, buy any table salt that has “life’s flavor” added. Fine sea salt doesn’t have any additives; its minerals come from natural sources, like sea salt and rocks.
Salt has a number of important functions in our diet, including maintaining healthy electrolyte balance, raising blood pressure, neutralizing acids, and eliminating bacteria from our food. In fact, trace minerals found in sea salts and other foods actually contribute to sound health. According to the kosher definition, salt only needs to have “a minimum concentration of sodium,” so it’s not essential to add anything else.
Most sea salts and table salt on the market today are treated with iodine, a mineral that’s naturally present in seawater. While it’s best to buy kosher salt that contains no salt, most people opt for the “odium-salt free” variety. That’s fine as long as you’re aware of the consequences. Unfortunately, those who live all their lives within the kosher definition of permissible sea salt will still be ingesting salt. And they won’t be getting the iodine that helps ward off diseases.
The reason is that sea salts contain up to two and a half times more iodine than table salt. And even though most kosher salt manufacturers claim that their product isn’t any less sodium than ordinary table salt, the truth is that it’s even more laden with iodine – up to four teaspoons in some brands, according to the kosher definition. And when you add all of that up, you’re really adding up to more calories than you’d otherwise like to expend.
So what can you do to reduce your salt intake while keeping your intake of calories low? One option is to purchase kosher salt that contains the reduced amount of iodine. The reduced amount of iodine is sometimes contained in tablets, shaker bottles or salt blocks. There are also many other ways to salt less, including reducing the amount of fat you cook with (you can substitute olive oil for butter), removing salt from your diet completely, or replacing salt in your cooking with potassium salt, which has a much lower sodium content.
In addition to decreasing your sodium content, you’ll also find that kosher salt offers additional flavor and benefits. Its natural flavor comes from the magnesium and calcium in the salt. These ingredients work together to improve your cooking process and enhance the flavor of foods. And since kosher salt contains only one gram of salt per every millions pounds of salt, it’s a much healthier alternative than regular table salt. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of salt without increasing your salt intake, which is a good thing if you’re trying to manage your salt intake while watching your waistline!