Sunday, September 5, 2010

Salt...from the Earth

Growing up the only brands of salt I ever saw, or used, were Morton's and Diamond Crystal. They're both simple table salt that's mined from the earth. Morton's started adding iodine back in 1924 as a dietary nutrient intended to prevent goiters. While there are other foods that are a natural source of iodine, such as kelp, yogurt, eggs, broccoli, strawberries and mozzarella cheese, this seemed like an efficient way to ensure the general public was getting their needed dosage.

Fast forward a few decades and suddenly there seemed to be a plethora of salt choices at my disposal: kosher salt, sea salt, fleur de sel, sel gris, and Himalayan salt. How had all these choices eluded me?

Himalayan (center)

 Sel Gris (sea salt)

 Fleur de Sel (sea salt)

As I ventured into this salt smorgasbord, I was a bit skeptical, but kept an open mind. Sea salt quickly became a staple. This salt is obtained through a process that involves the evaporation of sea water, which some believe imparts a different flavor from table salt due to its mineral content. I like the flavor, and it's less processed than table salt, which also appeals to me. Sea salt doesn't contain very high concentrations of iodine, so some brands are adding it just like Morton did years ago.
Himalayan salt is the most recent addition to my pantry. This salt is harvested from ancient sea salt deposits in the Himalayan mountains and is said to contain 84 of the nutritional elements that our bodies need daily. It has a slightly pink color, which is pretty, but I was sold on the taste and I have given this salt to several friends who agree. I use the coarse salt when cooking pasta and soups, and the fine ground is perfect for my salt shaker. What's your favorite salt?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laurie,
    My favorite is hand harvested Lima Sea Salt. A product of Belgium, the label tells that it is harvested in Atlantic salt marshes according to traditional techniques. Also, because it is unrefined, it is naturally damp. Other sea salts may be extra dry as they have either had their minerals removed through refining or have drying agents added.

    I like the taste and the feeling of life as it releases the natural flavors of the grains, vegetables and beans. Lima Sea Salt is this macrobiotic person's best friend.