It's important to know what table salt actually is when shopping for food or shopping around the health food store. Salt is an easily measurable substance that is used in cooking to enhance flavor. Table salt contains sodium chloride. Most people have heard of table salt and the "reduced" version that they add to our foods. But do you know which kind of table salt you need? Here are some guidelines to help you make the right decision about the type of salt you use.
The most popular kosher salt on the market is standard table salt. This salt has been heavily refined meaning that much of its trace minerals and impurities have been removed. Food-quality table salt however is almost completely pure sodium chloride with the exception of a small amount of potassium. You can buy this salt at most grocery stores and online. However, sea salt and kosher salt do not have the same composition and hence should not be used interchangeably.
Evaporated water weighs more than the water that stays in the pipes. The heavier liquid will continue to weigh more over time as it evaporates. As a result, the main differences between sea salt and table salt involve the rate at which the water is evaporated and the way it is retained. Sea salt contains more dissolved solids because the molecules are larger and therefore heavier. Because of this, the salt dissolves more slowly in solution and is less coarse in texture.
Evaporated sodium (often referred to as dew point) is the product of the chemical interaction between the salt and the air. When the concentration of sodium chloride in the atmosphere exceeds the melting point of the water, evaporation occurs and the sodium ions move out into the atmosphere. In table salt, on the other hand, the concentration of sodium chloride is less than the boiling point of the water. Because the sodium ions are lighter, they are easily pulled into the air by wind.
Salt is a great addition to a diet since its rich texture and variety of uses make table salt a versatile and popular cooking agent. The main differences between kosher salt and regular table salt all relate to the process of evaporation. Kosher salts have been processed to reduce brine and emulsification, so they have a lower amount of moisture and are harder to crystallize. This reduces the occurrence of fine line cracks on a food preparation surface, but the difference in texture may not be enough to warrant using one over the other.
Evaporated sea salt has been further refined to produce more concentrated salt with less moisture and a finer texture. The main differences between kosher salt and sea salt relate to the way they are processed. Sea salt goes through a more complex process of evaporation while kosher salt does not. After the salt has gone through the evaporation process, it is spread out in a coarser manner to improve its absorbent quality, then re-deposited in brine.
It is possible to cook with sea salt as well, but you need to choose your foods wisely. Most sea salt used for cooking recipes comes straight out of the sea without any further processing. Most table salt on the market is pasteurized at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit in order to increase the absorption quality. While sea salt retains more of the original moisture in foods, table salt generally contains only about twenty percent of the moisture it had before being processed.
So which one is better? There really is no answer to this. The key is to pay attention to which type of salt you use when cooking and buying foods at home. Table salt tends to be lower in sodium and should therefore be used for foods that need less sodium, such as soups and broths. On the other hand, sea salt works better with fish and shellfish and is recommended for those who prefer salty foods. On a final note, if you have kidney or heart disease, you should avoid both kinds of salt because high levels of sodium can cause issues such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular illness.