Sea Salt is the Natural Way to Flavor Your Food

November 16, 2009
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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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