Salt – one of Planet Earth’s most influential and important minerals. Empires rose and fell from power based on how they were trading salt and who they were competing with. We need sodium to live and to make our food taste good. For all its significance, however, most of us don’t really know the difference between types of salt. Here’s a brief introduction to salts and how to use them:
Also known as “fine salt,” this is the salt you use in baking. It has very fine grains, so it’s much easier to measure precisely. You can buy it iodized or without iodine, if you don’t like the aftertaste.
This type of salt has a larger grain and coarser texture, so it’s used to tenderize meat and when you want a bolder burst of salty flavor. It dissolves quickly, too, so it’s great for salting homemade broths and soups.
Sea salt also has a coarser grain and is created by evaporating sea water and collecting the leftover salt. It has a more complex flavor than table or kosher salt because it contains minerals like iron and potassium. It’s best used as a finishing touch for meals.
Himalayan pink salt
Famous for its color, true Himalayan salt is collected from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan. It’s popular today because it contains 82 minerals, and it’s used just as often in spas and yoga studios as in the kitchen. Use as a finishing salt.
One of the most unique salts, smoked salt is smoked slowly over a wood fire for two whole weeks, infusing the grains with strong flavor. It’s best used for red meat and potatoes, which have their own strong flavor that can hold their own against the salt.
Fleur de sel
Fancy yourself a great home cook? Okay with spending your hard-earned money on special ingredients? Try fleur de sel, which means “flower of salt.” It can only be collected in France on sunny, dry days. Harvesters use wooden rakes to draw the ice-like shards of salt free from the top of the water. A 15-ounce bag from the Salt Works website will cost you around $17. Considering how little you need to sprinkle on top of your food, it might be worth it.