Salt’s presence in food is a lot like a girl’s presence in a man’s life. It looks pretty much meek, harmless and benign on the surface, but gets complicated when you probe deeper into it…Not to forget that life without it is rather dull and boring, though too much of it is unbearable too!
A staple through times unknown, salt is used to enhance almost all the items on our platter. Salt occurs naturally in the sea or can be mined from the deposits on the surface of the Earth. The choices are plenty – Iodised table salt, Kosher salt, Black salt, Himalayan pink salt, Pickling salt, Sea salt to name a few. So which one should you use where? Fret not; we have done the homework for you:
Iodised Table Salt
This is probably the most common type of salt. It is manufactured from mine deposits or from sea water. It is highly ground and purified to remove the traces of any minerals and impurities. It is then fortified with Iodine to help incorporate the minimum requirement of Iodine in the human diet. Anti caking agents are used so that lumps aren’t formed during storage.
This is probably what you want to fill in your salt shakers and keep them handy as you reach out to them every now and then.
This salt has kept its nose to the grindstone and proved itself to be the most useful and widely used type of salt. It’s primarily used to cure meat and hence gets its name. Though kosher salt is larger in size and flakier in nature compared to table salt it still dissolves in water easily and its earthy flavour too disperses quickly making it suitable for everything from popcorn to meat. If you are watching your sodium intake you should pick the variety with larger flakes as that ensures lesser sodium content.
Himalayan Pink Salt
This is considered to be the purest forms (in terms of processing) of salt. It ranges from off white to pink indicating the high mineral content. This has the 84 trace elements present in the human body! Do we really need more reasons to use it? The high mineral content imparts a slight off taste, but if you aren’t very fussy about off flavours, this is the healthiest option. And ladies, it might interest you to know that adding a spoonful or two to your bathing water gives your skin a dose of replenishing minerals and soothes sore muscles!
As the name suggests, this salt is used in pickles and brines. It is more concentrated than most other salts and hence must be used in lesser quantities. It is the best choice for pickles as it isn’t fortified with Iodine and doesn’t contain anti caking agents, both of which would cloud pickles and reduce their shelf lives. So the next time you are making pickles, go for pickling salt and enjoy the sour salty treat for much longer!
The India Black salt or Kala Namak is unrefined volcanic table salt with a strong egg like smell due to its high sulphur content. The salt doesn’t smell at all in the jar, smells extremely putrid while cooking but the final dish doesn’t have even a tad bit of an off smell, but the flavour is affected. Though the name says black salt, it is actually pink when it is ground. Black salt despite the off flavour and the nasty smell is used for its health benefits and also goes well with a number of traditional Indian dishes and chaats.
A pinch of salt after all can decide the fate of your culinary adventure…give it, its due respect and time and decide what suits your purpose the best!