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Sea Salt v Sodium Chloride?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
About 12 months ago I started to use sea salt in most of my cooking. At first I thought there was no difference to that of table salt (sodium chloride), however I really do think that my cooking has benefited from the use of this natural product.

The taste is less intense, I therefore use more sea salt than I would table but find the flavour to be more compatible with the food I cook. As I understand sea salt has additional mineral content not found in table salt and therefore has a wider range of flavour.

My question is are my views right :confused:, is sea salt better?.

You comments would be appreciated.

maxon8
post #2 of 18
Personally, I can't tell the difference. I think it's a sales gimmick (sounds more "natural"). Don't take my word for it, though. I'm a heating and cooling technician, not a chef.
post #3 of 18
I think Sea salt tastes different. Weaker yes, but not much.

Generally Sea Salt is better at the table and use kosher salt for cooking IMHO.

I get my sea salt for free from a friend who works for Real Salt. RealSalt: Gourmet Sea Salt Kosher Salt All Natural Salt

I think it compares well against many other sea salts. Especially for free.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 18
I don't notice a huge difference in cooked products but I do notice it where the salt stays in crystals like in a salad or on a steak. I can't stand the taste of the iodine in table salt, and whatever aluminium compound they put in there to keep it free flowing. I'd munch on pure Maldon salt any day. (Yes, I realize that makes me sound like a cow...)
post #5 of 18
I've been using Maldon salt almost exclusively for over 20 years. I also have Fleur de Sel in my store cupboard.

I've never used Kosher salt, simply because I've always been happy with Maldon.

I believe Maldon is the salt of choice of most UK chefs, certainly those whose cooking classes I've attended always use Maldon!
post #6 of 18
According to America's Test Kitchen (on PBS) and the book: What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L Wolke, there is no difference in taste when a specific weight of salt is diluted in water in blind taste test. All salts are 99%+ Sodium Chloride (NaCl) on a dry basis.

That said, using salt topically is different. Salt is a crystal and the shape affects it's dissolving speed. Regular salt (from mines), is cubic and packs tightly together so 1 tsp of this salt weighs more then... say.. kosher salt.
Cubic salt dissolves quickly on the tongue so the taste is intense (almost metallic) yet kosher salt dissolve slower because the crystal is jagged.

Fleur de sel (means salt bloom in French) is the first salt crystals that appear above the water when it evaporates. The shape of the crystals are different (very feathery) then the regular sea salt and it's meltability is interesting but in equal amounts in water it will taste identical. Because of its shape, it weighs little for its volume.

Iodine is added to mined salt because it lacks in this essential micro-nutrient to prevent a debilitating thyroid disease. (Edit note this statement is not true see later post. Luc H) *Iodine is found naturally in similar amounts (if not more) in sea salt.*

Depending on the usage, I use regular salt in liquids (soup sauces) and kosher salt for rubs and the like. I don't use sea salt because most are ridiculously overpriced but if i get it free.... I'll use it.

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #7 of 18
I can only comment about iodized salt.

I have been told that if you go for 4 weeks without adding salt (hard to do .. gotta watch everything you eat) that when you go back to "normal" you can actually taste the difference between iodized & good plain ole salt. I have tried it & found that to be true.
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
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Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
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post #8 of 18
Having watched Ganhdi, the Indian's of India showed civil disobedience to the British by making their own salt. They did this by continually evaporating sea water.

Sea water cannot help but have all types of ionic salts in it. Probably has dirt and insoluble elements too.

But for instance, aluminum chloride is a "salt" and is ionic, so it dissolves in water. Since all the sewage and chemicals flushed down the toilet in almost any country eventually end up in rivers which invariably end up in the ocean, then all that "stuff" is in the sea water.

So yes, sea salt is probably cleaned by filtering out insoluble elements, it could also be "washed" by using some cold solvent in which the salt is not soluble. This is a well-known technique in chemistry to purify a compound or molecule(s).

Anyway, sea salt with have trace ionic "salt" elements in it. The amounts differ according to the area from which the sea water is taken, and probably the technique used to create the sea salt for sale. For sure, it will have some potassium chloride (KCl) in it, just to name one salt that isn't particularly sodium chloride (NaCl), along with the Aluminum Chloride, and just so you know, salts don't necessarily have to have a "chloride" in them. Aluminum sulphate is also a salt. So is dexamethasone sodium phosphate. The list is endless as are the pollutants in the ocean.

doc
post #9 of 18

***correction***

from wikipedia:
Because sea salt generally lacks high concentrations of iodine, an ion essential for human health [1], it is not necessarily a healthy substitute for regular iodized table salt, which is usually supplemented with the element, unless another source of dietary iodine is available. Iodized forms of sea salt are now marketed to address this concern.


**** sea salt lacks iodine (I was mistaken). Sea food has lot's of it. So if one does not eat sea food regularly, iodized table salt is a good idea ****
Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #10 of 18
Not to highjack this thread, but on a similar question...

Do you find that different types of salts, in the same quantity, seem to be more "salty" or less salty? I find that using if I use the same amount of sea salt and kosher salt, the kosher salter product will be overly salted...is there any validity in this or am I crazy? If there is some thruth to it, can I find anywhere that can give me specifics on this issue?

Thanks.
post #11 of 18
As explained earlier in this thread, different kinds of salt have different weights for the same volume. Salts that pack closely, such as table salt will have more salt in a given volume--so there's more salt and they taste salty-- than salts that pack loosely such as kosher salt and some sea salts. Some sea salts are fine grained cubes and can pack closely too.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #12 of 18
One way to tell is to get some of that "low sodium" salt that is sold for people trying to limit their sodium intake. This stuff is partially Sodium Chloride and part Potassium Chloride. Try tasting it and comparing that to your sea salt and your Kosher salt. I think you will see a difference. Therefore, again referring to the trace salts that are not Sodium Chloride in sea salt, they will have different "saltiness" to their taste. Some might even have a "metallic" aftertaste as "Compounds" as opposed to "Molecules" are made from ionic combinations of metals and non-metals. In the case of Sodium Chloride, and the Periodic Table, Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb), Cesium (Cs) and Francium (Fr) are all alkali metals that could combine with non-metals, particularly the Halogens Fluorine (F), Chlorine (Cl), Bromine (Br), Iodine (I), and Astatine (At).

doc
post #13 of 18

additional info

(When I doubt that my info is not certain, I search to confirm)
The info below explains why all salts will taste ALMOST identical in water because they are 97% NaCl. (I initially said 99%)

Food grade salt quality must meet the codex alimentarius to be approved for food use, sale and processing (in US and Canada at least)

Link: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/dow...3/CXS_150e.pdf

Excerpt:
1. SCOPE
This standard applies to salt used as an ingredient of food, both for direct sale to the consumer and for food
manufacture. It applies also to salt used as a carrier of food additives and/or nutrients. Subject to the
provisions of this standard more specific requirements for special needs may be applied. It does not apply to
salt from origins other than those mentioned in Section 2, notably the salt which is a by-product of chemical
industries.
2. DESCRIPTION
Food grade salt is a crystalline product consisting predominantly of sodium chloride. It is obtained from the
sea, from underground rock salt deposits or from natural brine.
3. ESSENTIAL COMPOSITION AND QUALITY FACTORS
3.1 MINIMUM NACL CONTENT
The content of NaCl shall not be less than 97% on a dry matter basis, exclusive of additives.
(it continues)


Of course there are various <salts> in the ocean but crystals form from pure salts. Since crystallization is unique to each salt,in chemistry, it is a method of purification. NaCl will form crystalline salt that is pure when sea water will evaporate. All other salts will stay dissolved. Salt ponds are never left to dry completely.
Complete drying of seas results in a product called Natron (many salts including NaCl) found around the world but particularly in ancient dried lakes in Egypt. Natron was used to dehydrate bodies (for months) before mummification. Almost like salting fish to preserve them.

I seriously believe that gourmet colored sea salt are intentionally mixed with clay or other matter in the pond to make it appear very exclusive and unique.

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #14 of 18
[QUOTE=Luc_H;177853The content of NaCl shall not be less than 97% on a dry matter basis, exclusive of additives.
Of course there are various <salts> in the ocean but crystals form from pure salts. Since crystallization is unique to each salt,in chemistry, it is a method of purification. NaCl will form crystalline salt that is pure when sea water will evaporate. All other salts will stay dissolved. Luc[/QUOTE]

Luc, I enjoy reading your posts. As a former Chemistry major before becoming a Physics major, the crystallization of salts is a method of purification, but it is not 100%. That is why your "standard" mentioned a minimum of 97%. That other 3% could be dirt, solids, or other crystals that got captured during the crystallization process of the NaCl.

Also, my wife is allergic to Iodine. Therefore we use sea Salt that has not been "Iodized". We NEVER ever use Morton's Iodized Salt if we want my wife to continue living! :)

There have been various threads on different forums that I belong to on this subject, and invariably every one of them attributes differences in "taste" to different attributes like if the salt is compactly crystallized or which "sea" it came from, and "what process" was used, etc. etc.

To really separate the "salts" from one another, while not commercially viable, in a lab, one could use paper chromatography. Identify the proper ring and cut it out and soak it in de-ionized or distilled water, and then you would have fairly "pure" NaCl.

Add something extra to your food - a pinch of Anglesey Sea Salt - Halen Môn! How it's made.

Celtic Sea Salt - Health Freedom Resources

Just some light reading for those interested.

doc
post #15 of 18
Deltadoc,
I enjoy discussion better then proclamations meaning, I like the back and forth of ideas and assumptions. I do not believe I am always right but the discussion will shake the truth or reality out of a subject.

Granted, 97% is not pure (close but no cigar)

But what seems obvious to me is if 97% of the weight of salt is NaCl then only 3% is other....

Halen Maon suggests 3-4g of salt per day... That's alot! Most nutritional guidelines range closer to 0.5g.
Of 0.5g of salt, 0,485g of it is NaCl which leaves 0,015g for other salts. I doubt one would taste the difference in water based on that 3% difference over NaCl.

I still believe that the taste of salt differs by its crystalline shape rather then composition. Diluted they all taste the same.

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #16 of 18
One salt that hasn't been brought up is Indian black salt. काला नमक. That Hindi text is "kala namak" meaning simply black salt. (Just want to see if Hindi text will work here). It has just a touch of sulfur salts in it and has a distinct flavor that you don't want in a salad, but is really good with certain Indian dishes.
post #17 of 18
Hi OregonYeti,

Is Kala namak a mined salt or evaporated sea salt?

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #18 of 18
I don't know, but I assume it's mined, since sea salt is pretty similar around the world.
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