Monday, August 22, 2011

Salt: A Culinary Adventure

Salts In My Pantry
Salt has been around forever.    It has been used as a preservative for foods and at one time it was used as currency.  Thus, the expression, "Any man worth his salt ."

From it's humble beginnings, salt has evolved into a shopping adventure.  You can find salt from black to pink.  Crystal to flake. Salt is harvested by evaporation and most  salts are nutritionally the same.  Sea salt does have some trace amounts of minerals that are not found in mined salts.

Culinary Salts

Black Salt:  Black salt is a blend of  minerals characterized by a sulfuric order. It is used in vegan and authentic Indian cooking.   I understand it is used in Mango Smoothies.  I must try it and let you know how it is.

Fleur de Sel de Guérande:  Known as the "caviar of salt." This is a high quality grey sea salt from France.  The salt is hand- harvested once a year during the summer.  It is great on salads, cooked fresh veggies, and grilled meat.

Grey Salt:  Grey Salt is organic sea salt from the coastal area of Guérande Brittany France.  This salt is considered by many to be the best quality salt around.

Hawaiian Sea Salt: This salt is from the Hawaiian waters.  A natural mineral called "Alaea" is added to the salt  which gives it a pink color.  Hawaiian sea salt has a more mellow flavor than regular sea salt.  Used in seasoning Prime Rib and Pork Lion.

Smoked Sea Salt
Smoked Salt:  High quality smoked salt has been smoked with speciality woods.  Lower grade salt has artificial smoke flavoring added to it.  Great for soups, salads, pasta, oven roasting, and grilling.

Kosher Salt:  This salt is an additive free coarse grain salt.  It is used in the production of kosher meats.  It draws the blood out of the meat.  Chefs like Kosher salt because it disperses more readily.

Table Salt:  By far, the most common salt used.

Pickling Salt:  Salt is used for the making of pickles.  It has enough purity that it prevents cloudiness in the pickling brine.

Roasted Salt: Roasted salt has been heated over a fire in a container that transfers flavor and aroma to the salt.  It is great for sprinkling over roasted/grilled meats and veggies.

Rock Salt:  Rock salt is mined from underground deposits.  It can be used as a block salt for livestock, coarse salt for grinder, fine ground salt for popcorn.

Cooking With Salt

1.  When making soup, stew, or sauces that will reduce during cooking add a little salt at the beginning.  The flavor will concentrate over the cooking time.

2.  Add salt to the surface of baked goods and desserts to enhance sweetness and provide a fuller flavor.

3. Salt added to taste at room temperature will taste less salt after chilling.

4. Add salt to boiling water when cooking boiled veggies.  They will cook slightly faster and nutrient loss will be minimized.

Salt and Health

Our bodies need sodium to regulate many of its functions like heartbeat, nerve impulses, and circulatory volume.   However, you need  to use salt in moderation.


So there you have it - a quick lesson in salt.  As you can see, there are a lot of different salts out there for the tasting.  Go out and enjoy.

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