Monday, May 11, 2009


Better know an ingredient: SALT

All salt is, or was, sea salt. Mined salt that is harvested from in the ground, and is evaporated sea water. Humans require the mineral salt (sodium chloride) to balance and regulate fluids. (Salt is a rock that we need to eat!)

Table salt is most commonly mined salt. Many forms include the addition of small quantities of postasium iodide, sodium iodide or iodate, and are sold under the moniker of iodize salt. (Iodine is found naturally in kelp but is often added to mined salt. Iodine deficiency can cause serious health concerns including certain forms of mental retardation, and thyroid problems.)

Fleur de sel (flower of the sea), is collected using the traditional Celtic practice of and-harvesting the solar-evaporated crystals from Atlantic marshes in Brittany, France—a technique which dates back over 2000 years.

Grey salt, which is also made in the traditional Celtic method, gaining its purple-grey color from the clay in the salt flats where it is harvested.

Smoked salts
This technique has its roots with the Vikings in Denmark and the Native Americans of the northwest. Evaporated seawater, forming sea salt, is often the base of this complex condiment. The dried crystals are then smoked using a variety of wood chips.

Kosher salt
This refers to the practice of koshering meats, by drawing out the blood with salt. These larger flakes stick to the meat better and are the salt typically used for this practice.

Pink or red salt (Hawaiian or Himalayan)
This usually refers to the red clay that these salts are harvested from, which impart a red to pink hue.

Saltpetre (sometimes referred to as "nitre," "niter," "pickling salt" or "pink salt")
This is actually potassium nitrate and is what keeps corned beef pink, instead of turning gray.
It is also a key component in gunpowder.


  1. You left out my personal favorite type of salt: MARGARITA SALT!!! ;)

    (fyi the word verification for this comment is "fumboan")

  2. That is hilarious.

    You can use any course salt you like for margaritas - I think kosher salt is awesome for this!

    Someone told me that the East Cost Grill cookbook has the best recipe for sour mix. That it requires an insane amount of lemons and limes to make but that it produces the best margaritas, hands down.

  3. Fancy smoked salt makes a good gift for food-loving friends. I bought Mr. -L a small tin of it last summer and he's not through it yet. Definitely one of my lowest-effort/highest-payoff gifts.

  4. thedailyreason - Yes! I have only had a few, but the Mexican Smoked Salts at Christina's Spice & Specialty Foods is amazing. I love a few crunchy grains atop an over easy egg, sitting on a bed of greens.