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Types Of Salt

shantihhh's picture

There are many different salts of the world.  I especially like using Maldon salt as a finishing salt and French Sea Salt for much of my cooking.  Steve loves using various finishing salts often in conjunction with special herbs.

This is an aerial view of the fall harvest  at the Cargill salt ponds in South San Francisco Bay. This is done at the end of our dry season and soon rains dilute the ponds. The lower pond is still crystallizing salt while the upper one has been drained and harvested. They scrape the salt up with a machine resembling those that chew up asphalt roads in preparation for resurfacing. A large electricity transmission tower lends scale to the image.


The salt flats at the south end of San Francisco bay are used to harvest salt. They are now in the process of being returned to their natural state. This shot is as you come into land at San Francisco International Airport.


  • Adding salt to water will raise the temperature at which it boils and lower the temperature at which it freezes.
  • Though we need some salt in our diet, most Americans consume much more than necessary.  Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Salt is a terrific flavor enhancer, helping to reduce bitterness and acidity, and bringing out other flavors in the food. 
  • Adding salt to bread dough controls the action of the yeast and improves the flavor.  Bread made without salt will have a coarser texture and a blander flavor than bread made with salt.  
  • Try sprinkling salt on citrus fruit, melons, tomatoes, and even wine to enhance flavor.
  • Adding a little salt balances the flavor of sweets like cakes, cookies, and candies.
  • Boiling eggs in salted water makes them easier to peel.
  • Adding a pinch of salt (preferably non-iodized) to cream or egg whites before they're whipped increases their volume and serves as a stabilizer.  
  • Salt is a mineral, so it can be stored indefinitely without going stale.  It won't taste any fresher if you grind it with a salt mill.
  • Salt has been used for millennia as a preservative for meats, fish, cheese, and other foods.  It works by absorbing moisture from the cells of bacteria and mold through osmosis, which kills them or leaves them unable to reproduce.
  • Salting slices of eggplants helps draw out the bitter juices.  
  • Sprinkling salt on meat before broiling or grilling it draws moisture from the center, making it browner on the outside, but less juicy on the inside. 
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  • Harvesting salt in Thailand

Substitutes:  citrus zest (for seasoning) OR pepper (for seasoning) OR herbs (for seasoning) OR soy sauce or fish sauce (for seasoning) OR hatcho miso (especially in hearty soups and stews; 1 teaspoon salt = 2 tablespoons hatcho miso) OR salt substitute OR kelp powder OR omit (Reducing salt in a recipe reduces sodium, but doing so may impair flavor and, in the case of baked goods, texture. Since salt enhances flavorings, use more of them if you reduce salt in a recipe.) OR marinades (marinating meats enhances their flavor)


Harvesting salt

canning salt

coarse salt = coarsely-ground salt = coarse-grain salt = gros sel    Notes:  Most recipes calling for salt intend for you to use finely ground salt, though coarse salt is better for certain things, like making beds for oysters and salt crusts on meat or fish, or for lining baking dishes or the rims of margarita glasses.  Many professional chefs like to cook with it because they can measure it more easily with their fingers.  Kosher salt and sea salt often come coarsely ground.

popcorn salt   Notes:   This table salt has very fine grains, which adhere better to popcorn, potato chips, and French fries.   Substitutes:  table salt

pretzel salt  Notes:  These opaque salt crystals are used to coat pretzels.  Substitutes:  kosher salt OR sesame seeds

rock salt = ice cream salt = halite = sidewalk salt = land salt   Notes:   This is the cheap, non-food grade salt that we throw onto icy walkways and use to make ice cream.  It doesn't actually go into the ice cream, as some have learned the hard way, but rather into the wooden ice-filled tub that surrounds the bucket of ice cream.  The salt lowers the freezing point of the ice, which causes it to melt.  As it melts, it absorbs heat from the ice cream, helping it to freeze more quickly.  Use a ratio of one part rock salt for every five parts of ice.  If you're out of rock salt, other kinds of salt will also work, though you should use less since finer grains of salt can can be packed more densely into a cup than large chunks of rock salt.  The biggest danger is that you'll use too much salt, which will make your ice cream freeze too fast and become crusty.  When using salt other than rock salt, start with a modest amount and check the ice cream after you've churned it for ten minutes.  If the ice cream is just beginning to firm up, you have the right amount of salt.  If it's not yet firming up, you need to add more salt.   If it's crusty along the sides of the bucket, then you've added too much salt.    Substitutes:  kosher salt (more expensive) OR table salt (more expensive)


 Maldon Sea Salt

Country of Origin: England

Maldon Sea Salt is a completely natural product without artificial additives, retaining valuable sea water trace-elements, such as magnesium and calcium. It’s pronounced and distinctive "salty" taste means less is required, an advantage for those who wish to reduce their salt intake. It is free from the bitter aftertaste often associated with other salts and salt substitutes.

photo from

This a macro made of some very large Maldon Sea Salt crystals. All Maldon Salt crystals have this wonderful pyramid shape, it is a natural process.

Maldon Sea Salt is considered the finest Sea Salt available by top chefs all over the world. 

What makes Maldon Sea Salt so special?

The pyramid-shaped salt crystals, characteristic of Maldon Salt, are fragile enough to crumble easily between the fingers and have a totally different taste from the regular grains of table salt. It is an interesting exercise to taste common salt alongside Maldon Salt. The common salt sits uncomfortably on the tongue and has an underlying bitterness. Maldon Salt is milder, has the flavor of sea spray and is free from the chemical tang of common salt. Unlike most salts containing additives to stop them caking in damp weather, Maldon Salt is a completely natural product, retaining valuable sea water trace-elements

The making of Maldon Sea Salt

The attraction of Maldon for salt-making remains the same today as it did hundreds of years ago. The combination of low rainfall, strong winds, bright sunshine and low-lying marshland produces good salty water. Early salt-making was carried out by boiling sea water, caught in shallow pools set in the marshland, over wood fires. These fires in turn acted as beacons for the local fishing fleets making their way up the coast. Today the manufacture of Maldon Salt still relies on the favorable conditions which have enabled the salt industry to develop and flourish here for many centuries. The Maldon Crystal Salt Company's success is due to the production of a unique high quality sea salt using traditional methods.

The Maldon Crystal Salt Company have been manufacturers and merchants of salt since 1882. During this time Maldon Salt has become recognized as the finest salt available.



Black Salt

Other Names: Kala Namak, Sanchal

Black salt is an unrefined mineral salt. It is actually a pearly pinkish gray rather than black, and has a strong, sulfuric flavor. Uses: Use in authentic Indian cooking often as a finishing salt on such as chats.


bamboo salt = parched salt = jukyom = jook yeom   Notes:   This is made by roasting sea salt in bamboo cylinders plugged with yellow mud.  The salt absorbs minerals from the bamboo and mud, which in turn leach the salt of impurities.  Look for plastic bags of it in Korean markets.  








Celtic Salt (LE TRESOR)

Other Names: French Grey Sea Salt

Celtic salt refers to naturally moist salts harvested from the pristine Atlantic seawater off the coast of Brittany, France. These salts, which are rich in trace mineral content, are hand harvested using the Celtic method of wooden rakes allowing no metal to touch the salt. Celtic salts are available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.





 Bolivian Rose - Andes Mountain (coarse)

Bolivian Rose - Andes Mountain Bolivian Rose salt is hand harvested from the Andes Mountain range in Bolivia. Ancient sea salt deposits were covered with volcanic lava creating this high mineral salt and protecting it from pollution. The light rose & orange color of Bolivian Rose makes it gorgeous when presented in a clear salt shaker or mill.

Finishing Salts

Premier salts that are grown in special areas around world and are known for their unique textures which allow them to quickly dissolve when applied to food at presentation. These salts bring out the depth of natural flavors of any dish.


Flake Salt

Other Names: Flaky Salt

Flake sea salt is a light crystal reminiscent of snowflakes. Seawaters are evaporated using the natural processes of sun and wind producing salt brine that is fed into an open evaporating pan. The brine is then slowly heated to the point where delicate pyramids shaped crystals of salt appear. The finished product is light, flaky sea salt.





French Sea Salt
French sea salts are harvested from pristine Atlantic seawater. Unlike most American Sea salts, they are usually unrefined, so they retain more of the trace minerals that naturally occur in seawater. These minerals include natural iodine.


Uses: Ideal for salads, cooked fresh vegetables and grilled meat. They are available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.



Grey Salt

Other Names: Sel Gris, Celtic Sea Salt

Grey Salt is a “moist” unrefined sea salt usually found on the coastal areas of France. Its light grey, almost light purple color comes from the clay found in the salt flats. The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods. Grey Salt has gained great fame in the mainstream culinary world in the last few years and is considered by many to be the best quality salt available. It is available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.


Grinder Salt

Grinder salts are typically large dry crystals suitable to a salt mill or grinder. The white salt crystals are easy to grind in the mills and the lower moisture content allows the salt to flow through with little hassle. Uses: For flavoring foods at the table when the host determines that a finer, higher grade finishing salt is not required. Note: Always use a salt mill with a ceramic or plastic grinding mechanism. Metal, including stainless steel, will corrode and adversely flavor the salt.



Hawaiian Sea Salt

Other Names: Alaea, Alae, Hawaiian Red Salt

Alaea Sea Salt is a traditional Hawaiian table salt used to season and preserve. A natural mineral called "Alaea" (volcanic baked red clay) is added to enrich the salt with iron oxide. This natural additive is what gives the salt its distinctive pink color. The clay imparts a subtle flavor that is said to be mellower than regular sea salt.


Uses: It is the traditional and authentic seasoning for native Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua Pig, Poke and Hawaiian Jerky. Also good on prime rib and pork loin. Hawaiian Sea Salt comes in fine and coarse grain.



Italian Sea Salt

Other Names: Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino

Italian sea salt is produced from the low waters of the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Sicily. It is a natural salt rich in minerals such as iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium with a much lower percentage of sodium chloride than regular table salt. The salt pans are filled with the seawater in the spring and left to evaporate relying on the heat of the Sicilian sun and strong African winds. Harvesting takes place once the water has evaporated and it is crushed and ground without further refining. These salts have a delicate taste and plenty of flavor without being too strong or salty.


Uses: Highlight salads, finish roasts and sauces. Great as a garnish on bruschetta. Available in coarse and fine grain.



Organic Salt

Although salt is not certified organic by the same standards as botanicals, agriculture or livestock, there are at least three organizations that have set up rigorous guidelines for the production of salt. This includes ensuring the purity of the water, cleanliness of the salt beds and strict procedures on how the salt is harvested and packaged.



Sea Salt

Other Names: Sal Del Mar, Sel De Mer, Sale Marino

Sea salt is a broad term that generally refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living ocean or sea. It is harvested through channeling ocean water into large clay trays and allowing the sun and wind to evaporate it naturally. Manufacturers of sea salt typically do not refine sea salt as much as other kinds of salt, so it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. Proponents of sea salt rave about its bright, pure, clean flavor, and about the subtleties lent to it by these other trace minerals. Some of the most common sources for sea salt include the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean (particularly in France, on the coast of Brittany). Sea salt is thought to be healthier and more flavorful that traditional table salt. Available in coarse, fine & extra fine grain size.



Smoked Sea Salt-I love using this smoked salt.

Smoked Sea Salts are a relatively new and exciting gourmet salt in the US! They are naturally smoked over real wood fires to infuse the salt crystals with 100% natural smoke flavor. Smoked Sea Salts add a unique flavor to a wide range of dishes including roasts, chicken, salads and sandwiches. Unlike artificially infused smoke flavored salts all of our smoked sea salts are naturally smoked. Uses: Great when grilling or oven roasting. This is a must when cooking Salmon. Also adds an authentic smoke house flavor to soups, salads, pasta and sandwiches. Available in coarse grain size.



Table Salt

Table salt is the most common kind of salt found in the average kitchen. It usually comes from salt mines and once it's mined, it is refined and most minerals are removed from it until it is pure sodium chloride. Most table salt is available either plain or iodized. American salt manufacturers began iodizing salt in the 1920's, in cooperation with the government, after people in some parts of the country were found to be suffering from goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by an easily-preventable iodine deficiency. People require less than 225 micrograms of iodine a day. Seafood as well as sea salt contains iodine naturally and the supplement is unnecessary if there are sufficient quantities of either in one's diet. Note: Natural sea salt is a healthy replacement for ordinary table salt.






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Types Of Salt