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Old 03-16-2008, 07:53 PM   #1
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Various types of salt...

I've heard things like "there's no point in using sea salt to cook with, since it loses any effect" and other things about which salt to use. So I'm wondering when to use:

Table salt
Kosher salt (assuming it's different?)
Rock Salt
Coarse Salt
sea salt
Fleur de Sel

Any ideas?

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Old 03-19-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert on salt by any means, but Table Salt usually has iodine added and is designed to flow freely and I believe is mined from underground. Sea Salt comes from the sea and is a much coarser and does not flow very well. It has different flavors of sorts depending on where it is acquired. Kosher Salt is "kosher" (no added ingredients etc) and is also a coarse salt with a little better pouring ability than Sea Salt. Rock Salt is used for softening water and making ice cream. I'm not sure exactly what Fleur de Sel is since it hasn't crossed my recipes yet. There is also a Canning or Pickling Salt which is very fine grain and no impurities so that pickling brine stays clear.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crono760 View Post
I've heard things like "there's no point in using sea salt to cook with, since it loses any effect" and other things about which salt to use. So I'm wondering when to use:

Table salt
Kosher salt (assuming it's different?)
Rock Salt
Coarse Salt
sea salt
Fleur de Sel

Any ideas?
Table salt has additives and is a fairly fine grain. Use it in any cooking or baking recipe.

Kosher salt is so named not because it is Kosher but because it is used in the process of koshering meats. It is a coarser grain salt with no iodine or free-flow additives. The coarser grain causes measures to be different. A tablespoon of kosher salt holds less salt than a Tb of table salt as the grains are larger so there are more air spaces between the grains. Professional and serious amateur cooks like it because you can pinch and season easier.

Rock salt is not for cooking

Coarse salt refers to the grind.

Sea Salt is extracted from sea water. Different sea salts have different flavors due to the minerals other than salt present in the water they are extracted from. It is typically used to season a finished dish so its distinct flavor profile can be appreciated. Adding it to a pot of stew, etc. the special flavors would be lost.

Fleur de Sel is sea salt.

Note: All salt comes/came from salt water. The stuff that's mined underground is from an area that was once under sea water. The salt was deposited at that time and remained when the seas receded.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:06 PM   #4
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Kosher salt is not called that because it's kosher but because it's used in the koshering process of meat.

Fleur de sel (flower of the sea) is a type of sea salt.

I use kosher salt for cooking and sea salt as a finishing salt.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:43 PM   #5
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There are also different types of "sea salt"

here is a primer on salts....

GourmetSleuth - Guide to Culinary Salts
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:38 AM   #6
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There's all kinds of different sea salts. Fleur de Sel I believe is traditionally gathered along the French coastline, and is sold for around $14/pound.

Other sea salts come in different colors, which is a natural effect that is caused by varying concentrations of minerals in the different harvest area. There are different types of gray salts, Sel Rose, other pink salts, red and black salts from hawaii.

The best use for sea salts is for finishing dishes. A classic one is gray salt or fleur de sel to season a fresh slice of heirloom tomato. You CAN use sea salts during cooking, but the unique flavors they bring are lost in the process, basically leaving you with kosher salt, only very expensive.

I prefer Kosher salt to cook with, and don't even keep iodized table salt in my pantry. It's shoved in a cabinet somewhere with my nice serving platters that I almost never get to use. I think it's best to invest some time learning to properly season with kosher salt during cooking rather than finishing with iodized salt.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:47 PM   #7
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I have a Smoked Salt that was part of Dave's Gourmet Salts. Last night I made Bobby Flay's Creamy Poblano Rice and am having leftover rice with diced grilled chicken for lunch. I just sprinkled it with the Smoked Salt - yum
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:18 PM   #8
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I never buy iodized salt, but most stores carry non-iodized salt. The label on the box lists silicate as an ingredient, to keep the salt pourable. This is probably why table salt tastes less salty than kosher or sea salt. American recipes are assuming boxed table salt, so, if you use kosher or sea, you might want to cut back a little. I keep sea salt in a grinder at the table and for finishing dishes.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjim68 View Post
This is probably why table salt tastes less salty than kosher or sea salt. American recipes are assuming boxed table salt, so, if you use kosher or sea, you might want to cut back a little. I keep sea salt in a grinder at the table and for finishing dishes.
It's actually the opposite. You generally have to use more kosher salt than table when measuring by volume to accomodate the large difference in crystal size.

Also, not many people would agree that table salt tastes less salty than kosher.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Sea Salt is extracted from sea water. Different sea salts have different flavors due to the minerals other than salt present in the water they are extracted from. It is typically used to season a finished dish so its distinct flavor profile can be appreciated. Adding it to a pot of stew, etc. the special flavors would be lost.
That's interesting. I usually use sea salt in soups and stews. I guess it's not doing much for me, is it?
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