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Old 03-22-2006, 10:57 AM   #1
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On the topic of grinders, (as in pepper grinders, not the sandwich), is there a difference in the grinder, or mill I guess would be the better term, for salt? I recently purchased and have finished one of thos McCormick Sea Salt mills that can't be refilled (same concept as Phantom's pepper mill from McCormick). Personally, I can taste the difference in sea salt versus standard table salt. Of course, table salt would me used mainly for recipes unless other salt is recommended. I use the pepper mill for both recipe and table.

I would think the mill is irrelevant, and should be able to mill either pepper or salt. Does that make sense?

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Old 03-22-2006, 11:18 AM   #2
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I don't have a salt mill. Personally, I use kosher salt that I keep in a covered dish on my stove. I love the feel of the grains between my fingers when I sprinkle it on my food.....I couldn't give that up. I still use the Morton's table salt when it comes to baking though.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:27 AM   #3
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Salt grinders are more of a novelty than anything. pepper mills have a purpose. By grinding the pepper corn you release the volitable oils at the correct time giving you the most bang for your buck.

Salt does not have any oils to release. It is a mineral that is salt all the way through. The only thing that grinding salt does is change the shape and size of the crystals. You can by salt in just about any shape/size you want though so I find salt grinders to be a waste.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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salt grinders are useful if you find yourself using a corse crystal sea salt. You can buy one kind and grind some for fine use. A salt grinder is different because salt is corosive to metal. Many are ceramic or very fine SS parts.

As with using a variety of pepper types, having a variety of salts is also a real part of fine cooking. there are tastable differences.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:33 AM   #5
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agreed gb, salt is nothin' but a rock that we eat. it doesn't have to be ground for any reason of flavor, except there are slight differences in types of salt.

i have a matching set of 6" peugot grinders, one of which is for large rock sea salt, mostly as a novelty for the matching set, but it does have a purpose.
i can set it fine for adding salt to food just as i'm about to eat it, or large for helping to mash garlic.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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I disagree to a point. Salt is flavored by its shape, and its other mineral content. Table salt is uniform in size and shape and often iodized. It has a distinctly chemical and sharp taste. Kosher salt is flaked, and not iodized and tastes much milder. Grey salt, Hawaiin Red or Pink, Utah brown, etcetc, all have slight different characteristics from the other mineral contents. SOme seem milder, some seem fresher, brighter. None seem as sharp as table salt.

The tongue has receptors just for saltiness, (one reason you can't eat just one Lay's Potato Chip), and I do find that different salts have real unique characteristics.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:54 AM   #7
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is salt really flavored by shape? or additives and minerals? i would think that salt is a crystal lattice, so it breaks down roughly the same.


some good info on salt: http://www.foodsubs.com/Salt.html
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:57 AM   #8
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Robo I agree with you that shape contributes to the percieved taste of salt. I also agree that iodized salt has a chemical flavor.

I know a lot of people say that different salts like grey, Hawaiin Red, Pink etc. Have subtle flavor differences as well. I have never tried those salts myself. I have tried Fluer De Sal though and when tasting the salt by itself without anything else I think I may possibly maybe might have noticed the slightest difference in taste as compared to any other non iodized salt I have ever tasted. When it is put in food though, those seriously subtle flavors are lost, at least to my palate. What I do like about that salt though is the size and shape of the crystals. It gives a nice salt crunch to foods when sprinkled on as a finishing salt.

Now that is just my perception. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who can tell the difference at 50 paces. i know of chefs who agree with my perceptions, but I am sure there are a lot more chefs out there who would tell us we have inferior palates if we can't taste the difference, and perhaps they are correct.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:03 PM   #9
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ok, possibly in texture, but i still doubt that shape affects flavor, outside of certain shapes affecting volume and dissolution rates. after all, aren't you tasting the salt as it dissolves?

more good -n- salty info: http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si..._reference.asp
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:09 PM   #10
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I think there can be a perceived difference in taste. For instance if you put a pinch of pickling salt on your tongue it will disolve right away and coat your tongue giving you a burst of saltiness. Now if you put a courser salt on your tongue it will take a lot more time for it to disolve giving the impression of it being less salty.
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