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Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Posted by janet_ks (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 9:08

Please forgive my stupidity...I feel like I should know the answer to this, but what is the difference between sea salt and "regular" salt -- you know, good ole Morton iodized that we grew up with? I'm wondering from a nutritional standpoint...for example, if you need to watch your salt intake, is one better than the other?

Thanks,
Janet


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

If you need to watch your salt intake - one salt is not better than another. They all have the same effect on your blood pressure.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

That may be true for Sea Salt vs Morton's salt, however KOSHER salt has slightly LOWER sodium than the other two. Please Google this question and read the back of the containers. Sea salt is purer, but Kosher salt is a lighter flake and therefore offers less sodium per serving.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

"Per serving" is the key there. Truth is, just substituting one form of salt for another will have negligible effect on reducing your sodium intake. Maybe a little bit but not enough to make a difference.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

It comes down to a personal preference, and perhaps cost or use. Salt is a whole world out there you may like to explore (see the link below at Cook's Thesaurus).

1. You shouldn't use table salt for home canning, as an example - use canning salt. Table salt and iodized table salt have additives that prevent caking which can cause the brine to be cloudy. Iodized table salt can darken pickles. These same additives give table salt and iodized table salt a metallic taste. I haven't had "good ole" table salt or iodized table salt in my kitchen in 35-years.

All salt was "sea salt", even the stuff mined here in Kansas in Hutchinson (Cary Salt) and Kanopolis (Independent Salt Company). "The salt we are now bringing to the surface has not been exposed to daylight for over 245 million years." (source: Independent Salt Company).

Not all salt is mined. Some is harvested by hand in beds of sea water.

2. "Sea Salt" isn't just one thing and there are differences in the composition of sea salt - so one brand may be highly processed and another unprocessed.

I like Celtic Sea Salt that has been hand-harvested from sea beds and it is unprocessed, light gray in color, containing over 80 trace minerals. I grind my own from large chunks of salt, like I do pepper from whole peppercorns. This kind of salt is actually damp in the package. The minerals can be helpful in gluten development in yeast breads (according to "CookWise" by chemist, Shirley O. Corriher).

3. For fermentation I use Himalayan Sea Salt.

4. There are also differences in the grains and how they are processed and used.

-Table salt is a dense cube shape made by vacuum pan evaporation and referred to as granular.

-Sea salt and kosher salt made by Akzo Nobel's Alberger process are formed from surface evaporation which forms a four-sided crystal.

-There is also a hollow upside-down four-sided flaky pyramid shape. The flaky pyramid form of salt is very delicate and dissolves in half the time that granular salt does. Mare-sole-vento (translated "sea-sun-wind") is an excellent light flake with some complex flavors.

-Differences in how they dissolve, mix, and how they stick to things is another thing to consider.

5. Large grains of kosher salt are great for drawing blood.

6. Due to the size of different salt grains, they do not measure the same by-the-spoon (volume). Use a tablespoon as a measure, then weigh 1 T. of each kind of salt, and you will see how different they are. The smaller the grain, the more it will weigh. The larger the grain, less weight. That's why measuring by weight is how you get consistency between different kinds of salt.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Cook's Thesaurus - SALT


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

A very clear post by grainlady. Salts are very different. I have a dozen or so and none are the Morton type. Kosher for brining and most cooking, rock sea for salting fish, some rich reds and black that i purchased when filling an on-line order for free shipping, : ).
Many sea salts are too course so i do often grind them. When watching salt intake it is odd to ingest something that is pleasant in the mouth, giving a dish so much flavor, but such large amounts pass the tongue...in bigger crystals than necessary.
So much salt ingested not needed? Grinding it with an additive like pepper, sesame seed, flax seed..an herb or chia. Something to stretch it and break up the crystals more fine. Very little is needed as a finishing salt and will improve the flavor of a dish. (but just grind a small batch as ground seed will turn stale quickly.)

If you want to try JUST ONE sea salt to compare, try Maldon. Such a beautiful salt. It is flaky and crisp. Crunchy when pinched. The shape is pyramid crystals. Not for cooking but as a finish tiny pinch on just about anything. Purchased from amazon with the little wooden box is not really all that expensive considering it should last a long time, probably over a year.
Such a little amount is needed that i do not find it expensive at all.

Using a salt grinder seems a bit silly but does cut down the use of salt just by the physical act of grinding. Making it more fine by grinding gives the flavor where it is needed, on the tongue rather than ingested more whole.
The salt 'fad' seen on grocery shelves recently is a bit overboard and not all that necessary. Most just fancy labeling. Or added ingredients for color and flavor.

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


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

People talk about regular iodized salt, but not all "regular" salt is iodized. I prefer plain table salt that is not iodized. For Kosher salt, I prefer Diamond Crystal to Morton.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

"-----if you need to watch your salt intake, is one better than the other?---"

As mentioned by Teresa, salt by volume is different, but the same by weight.

Another interesting salt to have is Himalayan rock salt blocks.

dcarch


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I prefer sea salt. I find I use way less than table salt.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Penzey's sells a flaked salt in their wooden shaker. I seem to use far less of it when seasoning my food. I'm allergic to --onion, garlic etc, as well as many herbs. I NEED salt & pepper for flavor. I also like Murray River salt, however I find Maldon too salty for anything but garnishing a fresh tomato.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I have a dozen or more types of salt, but use Morton's kosher salt for almost everything, certainly for all cooking.

Sometimes I'll set out a couple sea salts for finishing at the table. My favorites are fleur de sel from the carmague ( southern france) and truffle flavored salt (trader joes ).


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I see the point about much salt "in" food not actually being tasted. But then, salt "on" food can make salt one of the first stand-out flavors you taste. That may be desirable on french fries, pretzels, perhaps a slice of tomato, etc., but in general I don't like salt added on top. I want my food properly seasoned, not tasting like salt.

Tasted straight, side by side, even cheap supermarket sea salt makes regular salt taste downright nasty to me. (Yes, I'm talking non-iodized.) But I'm not sure I'd notice the difference in modest doses in or on food unless it's got a real flavor, like smoked salt or perhaps John's truffle salt. Maybe I'll scout out some Maldon and see for myself.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I seem to remember reading that we have a current problem in the US with iodine deficiency and one of the reasons is thought to be people using only sea salt which has very little iodine vs iodized table salt. I thought we would get plenty of iodized if we eat out, but seems that industry doesn't tend to use iodized salt. It's also my understanding that the salt that we get in our diet that is added at the table is a negligible percentage compared to what we ingest in canned and processed foods. I use both sea salt and iodized, but having thyroid issues in the family, I try to get my share of the iodized variety (and I'm not heavy handed with salt). Would welcome any data/research on this subject.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I see this article - hmm, maybe I will start using iodized table salt, or maybe someone makes iodized kosher salt?

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

We get iodine from a lot of common food sources besides iodized salt, especially food grown in iodine-rich soil.

I use low-sodium kelp granules as a seasoning which will provide approximately 3 mg of iodine in 1/4 teaspoon (and 25 mg of sodium), while the RDA for iodine is 150 micrograms. A 1/4 teaspoon of iodized table salt only provides 70-95 micrograms of iodine. So a little kelp is going to provide a lot more iodine than iodized table salt, which could be important for anyone on a low-sodium diet who avoids table salt and high-sodium foods.

I also add kelp meal to my garden soil spring and fall. "Kelp contains over 60 trace minerals along with amino acids, enzymes and alginates." This assures I have an iodine rich soil which means I have more iodine in my produce.

Foods that are a good source of iodine:
yogurt, milk, baked potato, canned tuna in oil, boiled eggs, navy beans, baked turkey breast, strawberries, prunes, bananas, green peas, chocolate, seafood and seaweed (such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame)....

-Grainlady


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I am with Grainlady. I have not seen one single case of goiter anywhere in the US as far back as I can remember.

dcarch


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Grainlady, does method of cooking really matter? Does it make a difference that you bake the potato instead of boiling, or boil the egg as opposed to frying or baking?

Sally


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Grainlady, does method of cooking really matter? Does it make a difference that you bake the potato instead of boiling, or boil the egg as opposed to frying or baking?

Sally


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

dcarch,

"I have not seen one single case of goiter anywhere in the US as far back as I can remember."

I'm unsure if you were joking, or not? But, I had a goiter that resulted in surgery (Grave's disease) in my late 20s. I've taken Synthroid ever since.

/tricia


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Tricia, that is very very far from being "epidemic" as claimed by that article.

In the areas I have been to, personally I truly have not seen one single person with goiter condition all these years. That of course does not rule out that there are a few people who have that unfortunate condition.

Let's say if there were only 5 person who have goiters in the entire USA population of 350 million, next year it jumped to 10 person, that would be a 100% increase. I guess that would be how you define "Epidemic" in that situation.

dcarch


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Dcarch, you seem to be saying that goiters are always visible. Untrue. Mine sure wasn't visible. Sure, some are (especially with men, I think) but many aren't. My oncologist told me that Grave's Disease was quite common. I was living in Denver - far away from the seacoast and fresh fish where my doctor said most cases are discovered (inland). Along the coasts, there is much more iodine in the soils.

/t


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

sally2-

Some lists mention boiled eggs and others list eggs without a cooking method. You can look on-line for lists of foods high in iodine.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: 22 Foods Highest in Iodine


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I am sure my view is distorted.

I have been to many areas in other countries where everyday you see people with big goiters walking around on streets and in markets.

dcarch


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Goiters also appear with Hashimoto's Disesase, another autoimmune thyroid disease. I have had them for more than 30 yrs and they are not visually detectable. Eating fish or a healthy diet provides substantial iodine. Certainly living near one of the sea coasts provides soil rich with iodine.
Thyroid disease is often inherited and associated with other autoimmune diseases. Read up on Graves & Hashimoto's (hypothyroid) before casually adding iodine to your diet. My doctor recommends against using it.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I've been doing some reading... Goiter caused by iodine deficiency seems uncommon in the US, but that is largely attributed to iodized salt. However, as a nation we are eating much more processed food which is not made with iodized salt, so iodine intake has decreased significantly in recent years. As with most things, it appears that if we eat a varied diet, iodized salt is not necessary. But that's a big "if" as we all know.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

There is Iodized "sea salt" from Hain. I quite like it as my regular cooking salt. To me regular Morton's tastes metallic. I have been using a few different salt types over the last year and like Himalayan salt or truffle salt for eggs and fleur de sel for salads. We did test low on iodine a couple of years ago, so I do use a iodized salt for cooking. Kelp additions to soil is a great idea. I will do that.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Thanks for all the interesting comments!! I don't care for foods that are very salty and have always just used good ole iodized, but had a recipe that called for sea salt and picked some up at the store. I thought it tasted better than iodized, but had heard about the iodine deficiency issue. I eat almost all the foods on Grainlady's iodine rich foods list, so I should be okay.

Grainlady -- You amaze me. I love reading your posts...you're like a walking encyclopedia or food detective. Actually, you're kind of like a female Alton Brown -- LOL!! Hope that doesn't offend you...it was meant as a compliment.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

janet_ks-

Many thanks for the kind words. I enjoy food science and watched Alton Brown when he was first on the cooking channel and enjoyed his shows. I especially loved it when he had Shirley O. Corriher (CookWise and BakeWise), who is a REAL food scientist, as his guest. :-)

-Grainlady


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

I've heard her on NPR occasionally.

I agree, Janet, that Grainlady is a jewel. Grainlady, you are so generous with your time to write out such detailed explanations and answers to our questions. Thank you.

Sally


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RE: Sea salt vs.

I have to jump in and agree that Grainlady is a real gem. I look forward to everything she writes. So informative and so generous with her time and information. A true teacher at heart!

Teresa

This post was edited by teresa_mn on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 10:17


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

That's why I think Grainlady is the wrong name.

Should be "Brainlady".

Grainlady is Teresa. She has given out so generously to so many people very special real wild rice which is harvested by her own family..

dcarch :-)

This post was edited by dcarch on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 11:55


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Interesting discussion. Re: goiters: goiter is any enlargement of the thyroid. Not all goiter is caused by iodine deficiency.

Re: sea salt: FWIW if you've been doing any of Sandor Katz's fermentations, he recommends sea salt. The trace of calcium in sea salt helps keep the fermented vegetables crisper than those fermented in regular salt.


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Grainlady...can you recommend a good salt grinder?


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

lette_04-

I've been through several brands of salt grinders over the years. My first grinder I bought from King Arthur Flour Company was an Emsa, but it had a small chamber and was difficult to change the grind. I now use it to grind whole nigella seeds (a nice change-of-pace taste to black pepper).

We had a set of small and large G'Rabbit grinders (has ears that look like a rabbit and they were almost a kitchen "pet"). Very easy to use with one hand, but we managed to break the ears on one of the small ones, and both sizes were messy.

Fast forward several years.... I have a pair of OXO salt and pepper grinders I really like, and OXO has several different styles available. The ones I have are at the Amazon link below. I purchased mine at K-Mart, on sale, for about half the Amazon price. You can easily change the coarseness of the grind with your thumb (5 choices of grind). They are easy to use if you have a small hand (with a nice soft grip), they don't take up much cabinet space and are easy to refill. Because they store with the grinder up, you don't have a mess where ever you store them.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: OXO Salt Grinder


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RE: Sea salt vs. "regular" salt

Thank You Grainlady...I will definitely try the OXO


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