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Salt: Table vs Sea vs Kosher

Posted Jan 04 2013 7:49am

One of my goals this year is to continue to expand my knowledge on health topics and to share it with you. I’ve been a “retired” health coach for about a year and a half now and part of me misses it. It kept me more in-the-know and I loved helping people reach their goals. I figured as a full time mom I can at least bring back the learning part, right?

So, why salts? Well, I have a habit of freely swapping ingredients recipes call for. One of my biggest offenders is salt. The recipe calls for sea salt and I pour in table salt without thinking twice. I always wondered if there was ever much of a difference, so I decided to look into it.

Turns out, there is some difference!

I grabbed 3 types of salts to compare. I promise Morton didn’t sponsor this, though it may appear otherwise.

Regular table salt

salt comparison- Morton table salt

Coarse Sea Salt

salt comparison- Morton sea salt

Coarse Kosher Salt

salt comparison- Morton Kosher salt

Each salt has a serving size of 1/4 tsp, which makes it easy to compare labels. Of the three salts featured above, Kosher has the least amount of sodium per serving at 480mg, followed by sea salt at 560mg and table at 590mg.

How is that possible? Well the answer is in the size and shape of the crystals.

salt comparison- crystal shapes

Sea salt has larger, oddly shaped crystals making its 1/4 tsp less dense than the table salt and therefore lower in sodium content by measurement comparison. The coarse Kosher salt is actually shaped into flakes instead of granules, which makes its 1/4 tsp even less dense, therefore lowering it’s sodium content per 1/4 tsp. In reality, no type of salt actually has less sodium than another, so don’t believe the hype.

salt comparison- sea table and kosher

Sea salt is derived from (duh) the evaporation of seawater (you can even make your own sea salt !) which allows the salt to maintain most of it’s magnesium, calcium and other mineral components, thanks to minimal processing. Many chefs say that this gives sea salt better flavor for cooking.

Table salt is derived from underground salt deposits.

*Fun Fact* – I actually toured a salt mine in Salzburg, Austria! It was way down deep, kind of creepy and awesome.

salzburg salt

Adorable picture, I know. And yes, I really licked it. It tasted like, well, salt!

salzburg salt mine

If iodized, which Morton’s is NOT, table salt has iodine added for thyroid health. It also has an anti-caking agent added to prevent clumping and ensure the smooth flow. It is more heavily processed and is stripped of most of its natural minerals during processing.

Kosher salt is pure sodium chloride without any additives, meaning no anti-caking agent so it is pure and can be used for koshering. It is cut into large flakes instead of granules, which makes it easier for the salt to pull the blood out of meat easier during the koshering process. Also, with the increased surface area of the kosher flake versus granule, you will get more salt flavor with less salt.

Oddly, my kosher salt has an additive, a anti-caking agent, so that kind of throws me for a loop! It is, however, cut into large flakes, which makes David like it best for sprinkling on avocado.

To sum things up, use table salt for baking, sea salt for cooking and kosher salt for a finished product… unless you are going to get into true finishing salts (like the famous pink Himalayan salt). But that’s a topic for another day!

Whew, there it is- more than you ever cared to know about salt.

Do you have any health food questions that you always were curious about?

I used to be curious about sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes until I did I little research and was surprised by the outcome!

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