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Upgrading Kosher Salt

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
For a long time Diamond Crystal has been my kosher salt of choice. What other kosher or similar salts are people using? I'm looking for better, fresher and cleaner tasting salt. Any suggestions?

Recently I read that kosher salt, per se, isn't available in some parts of the world, specifically Europe. What is used in those place instead of kosher salt?

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post #2 of 18
'Morton ' is another brand. They sell it in 3 pound boxes at Sams Club and Costco
It retails for about $1.69 to 1.99 a pound retail
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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ed - but I just say "NO" to Morton's. Morton's is not an upgrade, IMO. Last time I checked, it contained yellow prussiate of soda (a water-soluble, anti-caking agent) and, measure for measure, contains almost twice the sodium of Diamond Crystal, making it somewhat more difficult to regulate salt content in some dishes.
post #4 of 18
I have never used kosher salt, and only Maldon salt for the past 20 or more years. It is the salt that most of the chefs whose cookery courses I've attended appear to recommend (at least here in the UK and in Ireland)

Maldon Crystal Salt
post #5 of 18
An upgrade from kosher salt IMO is sea salt. A little goes a long way and the flavor can't be beat.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 18
There are various kosher sea salts around. The easiest one to find in my area is RealSalt. Some might quibble about it being a sea salt as it's mined as a rock salt from a fossilized sea bed of the Sundance Sea from the Jurassic period.

But they don't add anything or take anything out.
post #7 of 18
Maldon is sea salt - in my opinion it adds a flavour without a chemical 'back' taste.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've used RealSalt in the past and liked it. I'm not sure why I stopped using it - perhaps because it wasn't easy to find around here. I'll look again as it's been a few years since I last looked.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
I checked their web site and was unable to find the information I wanted, specifically, a list of ingredients and the sodium content per measure.
post #10 of 18
It's pretty regional to Utah it seems as that''s where it's mined. They do a lot of business overseas, Japan particularly. I see it a lot more in Central (the mine is in this region) and Southern Utah than here in the Northern part even though their main offices and shipping are even further north than i am. They're up in Heber/Midway area. But I often see RealSalt on the table in restaurants in Central and Southern UT.
post #11 of 18
Kosher salt may or may not be sea salt. Kosher salt is not blessed, nor does it have any particular religious significance. Most salts are kosher, but that doesn't mean they're kosher salt.

Kosher salt is salt which has been, crushed, milled, flaked, harvested, or otherwise made so that it (a) sticks to meat, and (b) does not dissolve easily. In point of fact, it's usually (Diamond and Morton) flaked. This is because using salt to dry the blood out of freshly slaughtered meat is part of the process in making kosher meat. Because it doesn't dissolve as easily it can be washed off when the koshering process is over -- and not leave too much salt in the meat.

Kosher salt may contain anti-caking additives such as sodium prussiate, but is not iodized. This is because kosher salt is frequently used for long contact, and iodine tends to turn food over time.

Unlike other caking agents, sodum prussiate will not cloud liquids -- so, if you like you can use Morton for pickling without clouding the jar. Compared to Morton, Diamond seems to taste a little clearer. Compared to Morton, Diamond provides almost exactly the same amount of sodium, weight for weight. The difference in sodium is volume per volume -- obviously Morton is denser. I taste tested both of them a couple of months ago based on something Shel wrote, and IMO Diamond, at the same seasnoning level, had a clearer, "cleaner" taste than Morton.

Other brands with some distribution are Regal, Redmond, David's and Sonoma. Regal is very coarse and well priced. Redmond is nothing special and incredibly over priced. David's is nothing special. Sonoma is a designed crystal, and supposedly the ultimate salt for rubs. Given Shel's degree of maven, it's probably worth it for him to look it up. I haven't got around to it.

The standard conversion for sodium is:
1 volume of table salt = 1-1/2 volumes Morton kosher = 2 volumes Diamond kosher. They are equally salty weight for weight.

Because it stays on the surface and is so resistant to dissolution, kosher salt is ideal for rubs -- and is also good for sprinkling by hand at the table if, for some reason, it's desirable for the salt to stay visible. Other than that, it's just salt.

There are subtle differences between various salts which become apparent during certain uses -- almost all of them dry. These differences don't depend on where or how the salt was sourced, but rather on impurities in the "gourmet salts." In the case of color salts like "pink," or "gray" the difference is soil.

Salt is known as sodium chloride, NaCl, and it's just that -- sodium chloride. So, when it gets down to it, most salts are just salt. If you use anything other than ordinary table salt in any dish with strong flavors where the salt's texture or the subtle flavors imparted by the impurities are overwhelmed the differences are lost.

An example where a good salt will stand out is as a finishing seasoning on a relatively simple food -- a baked potato with butter and pepper, for example. My particular favorite finishing salts are fleur de sel, and Hawaiian pink and black.

I used to write about kosher salt four or five times a year when I was active in online barbecue forums where the subject comes up frequently. All of this stuff is off the top of the my head, but the information is widely available from a number of sources. IIRC the online Cook's Thesaurus has a very good presentation.

Watch out for recipes from sources like Michael Chiarello with a financial stake in a particular salt. It tastes a lot better, makes a bigger difference, and is more often "worth it," when you own the company. That said, if you think $8 pound salt makes a difference in your habanero soup, enjoy yourself. Because I can't taste it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

Hope this helps,
BDL
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post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
DAM*! I spent more than ten minutes writing a reply to BDL's message, included links, pictures, references to alternative salts, and more. Went to send the message and - Bada Bing! - like it happens so often, the site gave me a "Page not found" message and my message was gone. Sheesh!
post #13 of 18
Two things Shel.

1. Please write Nicko directly and let him know. I was fine until yesterday afternoon when the new server started acting like the old one--page can't be found, database error, etc. He needs to know these things.

2. Lesson learned the hard way. Anytime I have a response more than two paragraphs long---on any site, not just ChefTalk---I work offline then cut and paste. It's the only way to avoid the frustration of lost posts.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 18
Shel,

It was kismet. Every grain of salt is needed to take what's happening.

BDL
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post #15 of 18
Technically all salt is sea salt. The mined version is from long gone seas is all.
post #16 of 18
Hi Shel,


For cooking I used Kosher. I use Morton's most of the time due to availability at stores. For finishing I'll use fleur de sel for anything that I see fit throughout the day. No matter if it's some eggs in the early morning for the kids or dinner later in the day. I just love the delicate taste and that oh so delicate texture.


It may be true that fleur de sel isn't cheap. If you factor in how long a small amount lasts, when using it for finishing, it really isn't that bad.


Good luck finding your salt!

dan
post #17 of 18
For cooking I use sea salt, but on the table I use a salt known in my area as "Urzo" ( I think that's the spelling). Some people here refer to it as diry salt because of the multi-colored flecks in it. It actually has a rather pinkish tint to it. It is mined in Utah, so most likely is the same or similar salt as mentioned by another member. The taste of it is wonderful on hard cooked eggs.
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post #18 of 18
Yes most salt is Kosher providing its packed under strict Rabbinical Supervision in an approved plant. Usually under the auspices of (OU) Union of Orthodox Rabbis.
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