Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 03/18/2014
Black salt named Kala Namak in India (shown above), is really a blend of minerals characterized by a strong sulfur odor. It is commonly used in snack foods in North India.
Fleur de Sel de Guérande is the premier quality of Grey Sea Salt from France. Before the evaporation process is complete a light film of salt forms. This is harvested and sold as Fleur de Sel. (See more about Grey salt below).
Grey salt (sometimes sold as "gray" salt) sel gris is organic sea salt from the coastal area of Guérande, Brittany, France. The salt is "moist" and unrefined. It remains a light grey, almost light purple color because of the clay from the salt flats where it is collected. The salt is not collected by machine but by hand using traditional Celtic methods. It is available in coarse or stoneground fine grain. It is considered by many to be the best quality salt available. This salt has really gained fame in the main stream culinary world in the last few of years.
Hawaiian sea salt is produced from the Hawaiian waters. A natural mineral called "Alaea" (a red clay from Kauai rich in iron oxide) is added to the salt to add beneficial trace elements to the product. This natural additive is what gives the salt it's distinctive pink color. It is said to have a more mellow flavor than regular sea salt.
Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. It is used in the production of Kosher meats to draw blood out of the meat. (Read more about the Koshering process) The salt is also preferred by some chefs because it disperses more readily. By nature of it's "flake" texture it melts easily and is lighter (less dense) than table salt.
Lite salt is a mixture of salt and another substance such as potassium chloride. Read the label. Don't bother using these products unless you have a medical reason to do so.
Pickling Salt - Pickling salt is fine-grained salt that does not contain iodine or anti-caking preservatives which cause darkened pickles and cloudy brine.
Popcorn Salt - This is just a superfine, flakier crystal version of table salt. We can't think of any real good reason to use it.
Pretzel Salt - A large-grained salt that does not melt quickly. The preferred salt for pretzels, salted bread sticks.
Rock Salt - Is a large crystal salt that is a slightly grayish color. It is less refined and still contains minerals that are removed from normal table salt. Rock salt is has a few culinary uses such as in mechanical ice cream makers and is sometimes used a a bed for serving certain types of shellfish.
Salt substitutes, are available for people on low-salt diets. They contain little or no sodium normally made of potassium chloride.
Sea salt is produced by evaporating sea water. This process is more expensive than salt produced from mines. Sea salt comes in fine-grained or larger crystals. Many of these salts are refined and use some of the same additives as table salt. Read labels carefully. The crystal variety can be crushed in a mortar and pestle or a salt grinder.
Seasoned salt is regular table salt blended with other herbs such as celery, onion, and garlic.
Smoked Salt has become very popular in the culinary scene. High quality smoked salt has actually been smoked with specialty woods such as Alder Smoked Salt or Fume de Sel - Chardonnay Smoked Salt which is smoked in old wine barrels. Lower grade salts just have artificially smoked flavoring added. Smoked salt can be used on meats, fish or vegetables.
Sour salt is not salt at all but it is citric acid. It is used to add an extra tart flavor to sour dough and rye breads. It may be used in canning to prevent fruit from turning dark.
Table salt is the most commonly used salt. It is a fine-grained and looks the same in appearance as fine grained sea salt. Iodized salt is just table salt with Iodine added.
"These days, natural sea salt, fine or coarse, has become widely available in supermarkets, and most people who use it find that it distinctly enhances the flavor of food. We agree and believe that if sea salt is available, there is no reason to use regular table salt...or kosher salt is a good alternative."
Kosher Salt - Use coarse pickling salt which contains no additives and is roughly the same texture. You can also use non-iodized table salt but use half as much as the recipe calls for (table salt is more dense). Kosher salt adheres to the food better than table salt.
Pickling Salt - Use Kosher salt as a substitute because it does not contain any anti-caking additives which will cause your pickling brine to cloud. Pickling salt is fine-grained so you can double the amount of Kosher salt, or use a salt grinder and grid the Kosher salt before you measure it.
Grey Sea Salt - Kosher salt or coarse Sea salt is the best substitute for recipes requiring coarse Grey salt. If a recipe calls for fine sea salt you can substitute regular table salt.
Pretzel Salt - Kosher salt is a good substitute or coarse sea salt.
Table Salt - If a recipe calls for table salt you can use roughly 2 X's the amount of Kosher salt or substitute the exact amount of sea salt.