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Friday, October 9, 2009

Choose your Salt

Have you ever wondered why the grocery store sells so many kinds of salt when all you ever use while cooking is Morton's? It's our mission at Peas of Mind to offer healthy foods for your kids. Foods that are low in sodium, fats, sugars, and all the bad stuff. Here is a guide to help you decide the right salt for you.

When comparing the sodium content of different salts, it is crucial to compare them on the basis of weight and not volume. Sea salt and Kosher salt are composed of large, irregularly shaped flakes which makes them... fluffy. Table salt crystals are small and uniform and therefore you can pack more of them into the same container (much like filling a pail with sand versus marbles). This is why different types of salt should not be used interchangeably in a recipe that measures by volume.

Salt is about 40% sodium by weight.

Sea salt contains small amounts of other minerals like Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium that dilute the sodium but not by much.

Typically, neither Sea nor Kosher salt have added iodine the way table salt does.

Here is a sodium comparison of 1g of Table Salt, Sea Salt, and Kosher Salt

As you can see, there is little difference among them (the sea salt being lowest due to its trace mineral content.)

Impact of Shape on Taste:

The most significant advantage that Sea and Kosher salt possess over table salt is the way their shape affects the delivery of salt onto the tongue. (This advantage is only applicable when the salt is in crystal form; once dissolved, it is nearly impossible to distinguish between different types of salt.)

Table Salt: Sand

When a crystal of table salt hits your tongue, it dissolves quickly, all at once, stinging the tongue with a sudden shock of SALT! This can often detract from the other flavours in a meal, making it unpleasantly salty.

Sea Salt: Rocks

Sea salt's larger crystals dissolve more slowly, delivering a subtle saltiness over a longer period of time in the mouth.

Kosher Salt: Feathers

Kosher salt's long curved flakes have a larger surface area than sea salt rocks do. Kosher salt flakes land on the tongue like a feather. A thin flake of Kosher salt delivers an immediate zing (similar to that of table salt) when part of the flake hits the tongue. As the remainder of the curved flake rolls onto the tongue, that zing is drawn out, making for an exhilarating eating experience.

To sum it all up, use sea salt when you're adding salt to food right before serving it. If you don't want to blow your budget on sea salt, Kosher salt is a decent fallback.

Nutrition Data blog
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition by Sheldon Margen, M.D., University of California, Berkeley, Random House Inc., 1992.

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