Fancy Salts - what to buy, how to use

gwloloDecember 19, 2012

Please educate me on different kinds of salts and when and how you use them. Several years ago, I switched to using Hain Iodized Sea Salt and that has been the only salt I have in the house. I am getting a salt grinder, and a himalayan sea salt kit with a salt block and a package of salt crystals for Christmas. What is a finishing salt vs regular salt. Is this like wine and cheese - do some salts work better in salads, baking, or regular cooking? I think I am going to enjoy exploring salts.

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The one kind of salt I never use is iodized salt. There are lots of other sources for iodine in our diet besides iodized salt. I use different sea weed products (kelp, kombu, nori, etc.) which are high in iodine. Other common foods containing iodine: cod, milk, bread, yogurt... In fact, I use kelp granules as a low-sodium salt substitute. Kelp has been used to treat goiter since the early 1800's because of it's high iodine content.

I keep high-mineral, light grey Celtic Sea Salt (from the Grain & Salt Society - in the salt grinders. According to Shirley Corriher in "CookWise", "For bread, the additional minerals in sea salt can be helpful in gluten development".

I use super-fine brine-grind Himalayan Salt for brining and fermenting. It's a little bit on the "tangy" side and is supposed to contain 84 minerals. It can be used in cooking and sprinkling on food. I've never experienced using the salt blocks.

The only other kinds of salt I use are fine sea salt (La Baleine - mostly for baking), Kosher salt, and canning/pickling salt for home canning.

I use either Celtic or Himalayan Salt in bread for their high mineral content.

"Finishing Salt" is not just one kind of salt and is mostly a big trend right now. Like people don't already get too much salt in their diets, we now have to top everything, including candy, with it. You can add it for the variety of colors or flavors or a coarse crunchiness.

Personally, a little salt goes a long way in my books. It does perform a lot of science in cooking and baking. Adding a little salt to something sweet will make it taste sweeter.

There is a lot of good salt information at the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Guide to Artisan and Gourmet Salt

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:29AM
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Grainlady --> I love reading your posts. I always learn something. I knew about kelp for iodine but my family is not too crazy about the seaweed taste. Do the other products have a milder flavor?

How do you measure the Celtic Seasalt for baking etc? Are the granules you grind better than already ground salt? Is this the regular salt you use for cooking or do you use kosher salt? I agree about a little salt going a long way. Thanks for the link - it seems to really detailed.

Looks like the salt block is actually used to cook on!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:38PM
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One more question - Do some salts prevent salad greens from wilting when used in the dressing? This would be brilliant if I can keep salads crisp longer

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:21PM
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I grind Celtic Sea Salt and measure as usual, although you can purchase it in a fine grind. I wouldn't think salt would keep salad greens crisp longer since salt draws out moisture. The only way I know to keep salad greens crisp longer is to vacuum-seal it in a jar/canister using a FoodSaver. Have fun experimenting with different salt products.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 3:42AM
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I have Mediterranean Sea Salt that comes in its own grinder that I get from Costco. I use that and basic Kosher Salt for cooking seasoning.
I make a salt myself made from Kosher Salt mixed with Fresh Rosemary, Fresh Ground Black & a touch of Sichuan Pepper and Lemon Peel. It is great on anything.

I also have a big block of the pink Himalayan Salt that sits on the table and have a little grater that I just rub it across a few times and it spreads a talcum powder fine mist that works well to add that finishing touch when you need just a bit more salt.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Besides seasoning food, you can use Himalayan salt blocks in inyteresting ways.

You can heat up the blocks to high heat and cook food on them like fish, beef etc.

I put the blocks in the frigerator to chill and then use them to servie sushi on.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:19PM
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That's so pretty!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 3:43AM
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Beautiful DC!!! I was gifted a Himalayan salt block and needed visual encouragement to use it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Thank you for the info on the different salts Grainlady.

Dcarch - That is absolutely gorgeous!

Cathy - I found in my local BJ's pink Himalayan salt in a grinder, very easy to use. Love salty snacks.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I'm not sure how this thread ended up on the front page for me to see, but I have to say:

dcarch, that is absolutely gorgeous!!! I had no idea that salt blocks could be purchased for home use and I certainly never conceived of cooking or chilling on a salt block. lol!

Coincidentally, there was recently a new organics line of foods released at a local store and I picked up several of their salts to try, including Pink Himalayan crystals. My thanks to grainlady for once again sharing her vast knowledge on the subject! :)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I have been using mostly sea salt or kosher salt for some time now. I currently use Diamond fine grind sea salt for cooking, although I've asked for a salt grinder for Christmas so I can use sea salt made here in Maine.

The Maine salt is also available smoked with either hickory or apple wood (and it is genuinely smoked) and that is great on meat and wonderful on pizza.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 6:20PM
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The salt blocks are gorgeous dcarch. I'd be tempted to cook on them but they loose that lovely pink color, or so i have heard.
I was gifted some various salts and some rocks. I did need to get a grinder as some are just too large for finishing salts. Spice grinder works. The Himalayan rocks are so dense! I've tried different graters but just get a dusting, though that is fine.
I recently prefer the Maldon. It pulverizes to a crunchy dust between your fingers. Flaky and seems to melt when used. I've not tried the smoked Maldon.

Mabel- Nice to use your local salt. I tried making my own last summer. After 3 days i was close. I had braised an exotic meat that i had resting just above the salt tank. Could not stop tasting the meat and dropped a piece into the salt. Oops. I'll try again next year using a better method, maybe exterior evaporation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maldon sea salt

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Thank you Sleeven, Party.

There are many videos on youtube on cooking using Himalayan salt blocks.

Here is one.


Here is a link that might be useful: salt block

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 10:08AM
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