Today’s post is dedicated to that all-important and yet humble seasoning – salt. It’s not only flavoured our food and kept our bodies going for millenia, salt was once used as salary (that’s where the word comes from) and also the cause of wars and conflict between kingdoms and their subjects because of high taxation.
We’re cautioned about using too much salt in our diets, while an extremely low intake causes equally bad health issues.
These days it’s not enough to use the humble table salt. You are spoilt for choice. If you’re confused about all the kinds of salt in the market, then here’s a brief summary of what to use and when to use it.
Table Salt: The standard salt that most people use for both cooking and on the table. Generally, it contains added iodine, which is essential to our bodies. Adding it to salt ensures that our health is fortified, even though we intake it pretty much without realising. This salt doesn’t have a high mineral content, so in fact, it is probably a bad choice in terms of both flavour and benefits.
Sea Salt: This is the salt generally preferred by chefs. Maldon is our favourite variety. You don’t realise how much depth something as standard as salt can have until you taste this one – the depth of flavour really hits you. It probably comes from the structure of the crystal. You’ll find that this salt enhances everything you season with it. It’s reputed to work best with vegetables according to this article, but we love it on meat too. If you’ve been curious about the packs of Halon Mon Gold you come across in supermarkets, it’s a salt that’s mined in Anglesey in Wales and has achieved PDO status. It gives brilliant results with ingredients like chocolate and eggs.
Rock Salt: Fancy Himalayan Pink Salt comes under this category. It’s captured our attention for a while now. It was preserved over millions of years ago, according to research. Although it’s expensive (it’s the purest form of salt out there), you only need a tiny amount compared to other salts to flavour your food. It is thought that Himalayan Salt contains around 84 minerals, as this article states.
Fleur de Sel: As the name suggests, Fleur de Sel is hand-harvested in France. The name pays tribute to the method of sourcing. While salt generally accumulates at the bottom of crystallising pans, fleur de sel forms into crystals atop the water as it evaporates. It’s labelled ‘caviar of the salts’ for that reason. It contains a high number of minerals and also contains more moisture than other salts. Precious, expensive and delicate in taste, it is used largely as a finishing salt rather than a cooking salt. Wikipedia states that this salt was once mined in Greece too, along the Mediterranean Sea around Lakonia.
Infused Salt: Salts also come infused with flavours from herbs and spices. This article indicates that sophisticated flavours such as truffle, chocolate and saffron can be imparted to salt and each variety can be used in its own special application in the kitchen. It’s not difficult to make infused salts, apparently. This article by the Pioneer Woman gives you instructions on how to infuse salt with dried herbs in your own kitchen.