Salt is perhaps the most widely used seasoning there is, and is a vital tool for both chefs and restaurant frequenters. As most salts are very similar, you can be forgiven for not knowing the difference between sea salt and kosher salt. This article will explain the differences between these types of salts as well as others, whilst also giving advice on how to best utilize different types of salts when cooking.
Difference Between Sea Salt and Kosher Salt
Sea salt undergoes the least amount of processing of every other salt described herein. This salt comes directly from evaporated sea water, and sometimes contains trace elements that can slightly change the color and flavor of the salt. The minerals, flavor and color of sea salt all depends on the original source it was extracted from.
When learning the difference between sea salt and kosher salt, as well as other available salts, cost is another factor to consider. Sea salt generally costs more than other types of salt, and for this reason, should be used sparingly. There are many varieties of sea salt, each perfect for different dishes. This salt is generally used as a “finishing salt” perfect to crumble over a dish as final seasoning. Due to the small amount of processing this salt undergoes, many trace minerals remain within it (such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium). Its texture can be either coarse grain or fine.
Kosher salt generally comes in larger flakes than table salt or sea salt, and is usually extracted from land based salt mines. The name comes from the Jewish method of koshering meat. The large flakes of kosher salt work to absorb moisture, working to draw blood from meat when sprinkled over it, whilst not imposing an overly salty flavor. This is because kosher salt has less of a salty flavor than other salts available. This salt is also generally used as a “finishing salt” and also works very well with meat. This is because the large flakes help to hold in the juices and flavor, ensuring that the meat stays juicy and moist.
When ascertaining the difference between sea salt and kosher salt, you also can't ignore perhaps the most common variety of salt used today – table salt. This is generally the most processed salt, extracted from land based salt mines, table salt undergoes a bleaching and heating process to remove trace elements. An additive is also usually added to prevent the occurrence of clumping (calcium silicate). Table salt is often finer than kosher or sea salt, and will usually have a more salty flavor than both. This type of salt is generally used as a final addition to a meal before consumption, as the name would suggest, it is kept on tables to offer last-minute salting. It can also be used in cooking, and is great for salting water before boiling potatoes or pasta.
All salt can come with or without iodine, which is usually added to the salt to help those who consume the salt with thyroid problems. A deficiency of iodine within the diet can cause some very preventable issues. When buying salt, regardless of whether you go for sea salt, kosher salt, or any other type, try to get salt that has been fortified with iodine.