It’s time to talk about sodium chloride — AKA salt. You may be thinking that salt is just salt and what else could there possibly be to know. Whilst it may be one of the simplest ways of seasoning a dish that is used in kitchens across the world, it can also singlehandedly make or break a meal depending on if you add too much or too little.
Unlike most other herbs and spices, it doesn’t smell, yet has the most distinctive of flavours when consumed, bringing back distantly nostalgic memories of trips to get chips at the seaside. Many can’t get enough of the stuﬀ. But what are the diﬀerent types of salt commonly found in the kitchen? Here’s the lowdown on all you need to know.
The salt that is found most commonly in kitchen cupboards nationwide is table salt. Harvested from salt deposits that are located underground, the process of refining and grinding the salt removes any of the impurities that may be found. An anti-caking agent is added to ensure that the salt granules don’t clump together.
Obtained by evaporating — yes, you guessed it — sea water. This is most commonly done by heating at a low temperature and then recovering the leftover chunky flakes of sea salt that have gathered at the bottom. The big granules mean lots of flavour, but also that sea salt is best used to season once your meal is served as a garnish, rather than when cooking the food.
Himalayan Pink Salt
As the name indicates, this salt is harvested in the Himalayan Mountains (from the Khewra salt mine) and is the purest form of salt found in the world. As a result, it has seen a rise in popularity over the past few years as more people looking for ‘cleaner’ alternatives when preparing food. It is also used outside of the kitchen as a cosmetic ingredient in retreats and spas.
This Nepalese-originating salt is also from the Himalayan Mountains, but gets fired in a furnace with charcoal, bark and lots of herbs and spices before the aging process takes place. It has become something of a staple ingredient for people avoiding eggs, but looking to replicate the flavour due to its overpowering egg-like smell. This certainly isn’t for everyone, but those who love it — really do love it.
Fleur De Sel
The literal translation of this is ‘the flower of salt’ — reflecting its high end reputation and hefty price tag. It’s no wonder once you discover the work that goes into retrieving it. It is hand-harvested from tidal pools oﬀ the coast of France where the fragile salt crystals are removed from the surface of the sea. Plus harvesting is weather-reliant on a slight breeze and no rain.
If you’ve headed to any speciality food shops with a large spice aisle, you will have noticed that there is no end of new salt names popping up. From smoked salt which is smoked over a wood fire to add a smoky flavour to food, to the trendy black and red Hawaiian salts, cooking with salt isn’t as simple as it once was.
Remember – More salt can always be added, but it’s diﬀicult to recover a dish if you add too much near the start!
Before the days of fridges and freezers, salt was used to keep food cool and preserve it from going oﬀ for as long as
possible. The addition of salt as a preservative was a useful way of ensuring food lasted longer by drawing moisture out of the food.