Sea Salt is the Natural Way to Flavor Your Food

Salt and pepper are the two standard spices that are used in almost every savory dish. Salt makes its way into many sweet foods too. However, the standard table salt that’s found in most kitchens may not be the healthiest or the tastiest choice of salts. It all depends on your tastes, but many people prefer sea salt to standard table salt.

Sea salts, which are harvested from evaporated salt water, contain many valuable minerals that standard sodium chloride just doesn’t have. Furthermore, sea salt offers subtle flavors that vary depending on where the product was produced. Because of its mineral content and exquisite flavor, sea salt is often the best choice for flavoring food.

Producing Sea Salt

Not surprisingly, the most common method of getting natural sea salt is harvesting it from the sea. The practice of extracting salt has remained the same since ancient times; workers find a place near saline water where the sun is strong, wait for the water to evaporate, rake up the remaining salt, clean it, and sell it. The places where salt is produced are known as salterns or salt works. Mineralized salts can also be obtained through mining. However, salt mines are relatively rare.

Sea Salt in Food

Many food lovers swear by sea salt for its ability to make a dish extraordinary. The coarseness of the salt adds texture to foods, and its complex flavor can make a dish stand out. However, most people unfamiliar with the nuances of salt cannot distinguish between table salt and sea salt, especially when they are dissolved in a liquid.

One of the most common food uses of sea salt is in gourmet potato chips. The salt is also placed atop some fancy chocolates to balance out the sweetness.

Most people who use sea salt on a regular basis find that a salt grinder is essential. A grinder will break up the course salt granules into smaller pieces, allowing them to be more easily integrated into food.

Other Uses

Sea salt is also used in some cosmetics. Exfoliating scrubs are also commonly made with course sea salts. Bathing salts are generally made from sea salt as well.

Sea Salt and Health

Proponents of sea salt claim that it has all the vital minerals humans need to stay healthy. In addition to the basic sodium and chloride found in regular table salt, sea salt also contains potassium, sulfate, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. The mineral makeup of sea salts varies depending on the place where the salt was produced.

The problem with sea salt is it does not contain much iodine, a mineral necessary for human health. Table salt is usually supplemented with iodine, and it’s one of the most common sources of the mineral for most people. Some sea salts are now sold with added iodine, but they can be hard to find.

If you want to switch to sea salt for all your cooking, make sure you’re getting enough iodine from other sources, such as dairy products and seafood.

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Salt and Pepper Grinders and the Antique Market

Antique collecting dealing is the best kept secret of professional investors worldwide; a world where a Hohnes Wagner baseball card or a Van Gogh painting can sell for millions of dollars. Whereas a salt grinder is unlikely to sell for that much unless it was used by Napoleon during a pre-Waterloo meal for example, collecting items as simple as antique Salt and Pepper Grinders can still be a worthwhile and even profitable venture.
Also known as a “burr mill”, a pepper or salt grinder very simply chops up salt or pepper when the user turns the knob at the top, manipulating the one or two blades at the bottom of the container. Grinders shouldn’t be mistaken shakers, as shakers are containers for pre-ground salt and pepper. Grinders aren’t inherently better than shakers and shakers aren’t inherently better than grinders, so buying either depends solely on buyer’s preference. Depending on its make, model, and capabilities, a modern salt and pepper grinder set can cost between $1 and $200.
If someone is seeking to make thousands of dollars per sale of an antique salt/pepper mill, they are either a good salesperson or a delusional person; in most cases, the highest price for an antique pepper mill is in the neighborhood of $500. The value of a salt/pepper antique grinder is determined first by its appearance and material it was made with, then it’s year, its working order, and finally it’s possible ownership. The earlier example that was given regarding Napoleon’s pepper mill was an impossible one, as pepper grinders were not created until 1842.
Still, special antique salt/pepper grinder sets can still be purchased in the primary place most of the best antiques are purchased: auctions. If a collector is seeking to buy a the grinder of a celebrity such as Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, it’s likely the grinders would come in the form of a full dining set, and this dining set would be worth hundreds of thousands. For those aspiring collectors who aren’t nearly that rich, the best place to start would be EBay.
On EBay, currently one of the highest priced antique pepper mills is a circa 1844 Peugeot pepper mill, which means it might have been personally hand-crafted by Peugeot of France, inventor of the pepper grinder. As one might think such a rare grinder would be worth more than something recent, it’s not. A 1908 Edwardian Sterling Silver Pepper Grinder from the UK, noted for its beauty, is currently worth 375 British pounds whereas the 1844 Peugeot grinder is worth $135.
In the arena of tableware antiques, the value lies in look and whether or not the antique is still serviceable. Do a search for an 1844 pepper grinder; would you take pride in using that to serve guests at your next dinner party? After reading this article, if you own heirloom salt or pepper grinders, take them to your local antique dealer. You just might already own tableware that was owned by Jackie O., and you’ll reap all the serendipitous benefits of it.