The Differences Between Kosher and Sea Salt
When people think of table salt they usually think of table salt mixed with milk and sugar and used for cooking purposes. But salt has many other uses and benefits. Most people have never given any thought to what kind of salt they eat. And this is a shame because salt has so many different benefits and usage. Not just for cooking! There are three main classifications of salt: rock salt, kosher salt and sea salt.
As far as what kind of salt is best to use for seasoning foods is concerned, it really depends on what your goals are. Because chemically, there is no significant difference between refined table salt or regular salt. Just because regular table salt contains Sodium Chloride does not mean that kosher salt or sea salt lacks this essential nutrient.
The primary difference between kosher and sea salt is in the mineral content. Sea salt contains more magnesium and less sodium while kosher salt tends to have more sodium and less magnesium. Rock salt on the other hand tends to lack any trace minerals and tends to take on a metallic taste when it is heated. Realtors recommend the seasoning of foods with a larger grain size, such as goose fat or beef fat because of its increased fat content. To get the most flavor from your food you’ll want to season with salt.
Salt is actually the result of evaporation. So sea salt and table salt have almost no difference in terms of evaporation. Evaporated water is key to the flavoring process in many foods. This water leaves the food with a slightly bitter aftertaste but because of the evaporation process it also leaves behind the trace minerals. This bitter aftertaste is what produces the salty taste we associate with salt.
One way that kosher salt and sea salt differ is in their mineral content. Sea salt tends to have a higher concentration of magnesium, which results in a much bigger amount of salt in the salt than table salt. It is recommended to purchase sea salt that has a high volume measurement. Table salt on the other hand, has a lower volume measurement. The concentration of magnesium is enough to make its taste noticeable. For this reason, many people opt for kosher salt over table salt when they are shopping for restaurant-grade foods.
The main difference between the two is that kosher salt has a higher absorption rate than sea salt. However, they both have a low boiling point. Kosher salt also dissolves better in water because it has a lower density. When purchasing kosher salt, you should make sure to buy processed kosher salt which is not unprocessed and has been treated to increase its absorbency.
A good way to gauge whether a salt has a high or low absorption rate is to place it on your tongue and blow strongly onto it. If the salt instantly goes to your tongue and tastes strange, then it is most likely unprocessed. On the other hand, sea salts have a higher boiling point and they tend to dissolve easily in water. Unfortunately, sea salt tends to leave an aftertaste on your palate. It is advised to purchase kosher salt that is processed to improve its absorption rate.
A third main difference between kosher and sea salt is that one tends to have more trace minerals while the other lacks them. To test this theory, take some crackers or pieces of bread and place them on a plate with sea salt. After a few moments, note which one has more trace minerals such as magnesium and sodium. Regular salt on the other hand, does not have a similar taste. If you prefer salty bread, then opt for sea salt, it tends to have a salty taste.