There thousands of different salt producers in Asia and another few thousand in Europe and the Americas. In fact that salt has played a prominent role in determining the power and location of the world’s great cities has always intrigued me. I rarely let a day pass without adding some form of salt to my food, a touch of salt can make, a heart glow warm.
But I stay away from table salt, Table salt is a refined salt containing about 97 to 99 percent sodium chloride. The processed iodine salt is refined and can be considered dangerous. When the scientists put table salt under high pressure of 200,000 atmospheres and more, and added an extra dash of either sodium or chlorine, “forbidden” compounds like Na3Cl and NaCl3 turned up.
There are definitely salt brands that I prefer over others, and some I never use such as Morton’s kosher salt. It contains the anti-caking agent “yellow prussiate of soda”, sodium ferrocyanide. Free flow is important to Morton’s identity, their famous slogan, “When it rains, it pours,” refers to their salt’s ability to pour, even when it’s humid.
But salt does not elude the best forks and critics, Jeffery Steingarten found in a blind tasting, that testers can’t distinguish most of the fancy salts once mixed into 2% saltwater solutions. The panel prefers the taste of the sea salt over the kosher salt so salt by type is indicative of taste.
Here are some types of salt you are used to and some you have never heard of, so let’s get down to salt.
The flaky salt: Alberger processed, a method of producing salt it involves mechanical evaporation, and uses an open evaporating pan and steam energy. It results in a unique, three-dimensional flake of extremely light bulk density. It is highly prized in the fast food industry, due to its low sodium and high flavor content for a given volume. This is because the salt is ‘cup-shaped’, instead of in the form of normal salt crystals.
Fleur de sel: the “flower of the salt,” is the name used for salt that has been raked by hand from salt ponds surrounding certain villages in France, predominately those around Brittany, on the Atlantic coast, and in the Camargue, on the Mediterranean. It is harvested from May to September, when artisan Paludiers patiently wait as the shallow pools of water in the salt ponds evaporate, creating the prized salt crystals. Each day a new layer of salt rises to the top of the pond, crystallising in delicate flakes that are scooped up by the Paludier using a wide, flat board on the end of a long pole. Each day’s harvest comprises one batch of fleur de sel.
Sea salt: is the generic term for unrefined or minimally refined salt, usually containing many of the trace minerals found in sea water as it has been naturally evaporated from a living ocean, sea or bay.
Rocks salt: The term rock salt applies to any salt that has been mined from salt deposits on or under the ground. This definition may also apply to salt which has been extracted from underground deposits by dissolving it in water, pumping the brine to the surface and then precipitating the liquid back into salt.
Celtic grey salt: is made in the same ponds as fleur de sel and is also called sel gris.This unrefined variety is hand-raked out of the salt ponds (as opposed to being skimmed carefully from the top like its expensive cousin), its tint courtesy of the minerals in the clay lining the ponds. It’s cheaper than fleur de sel and makes a good table salt.
Grey salt: Many of the finest salts come from France, and grey Salt, “sel gris”, usually refers to the grey French sea salt that is hand harvested with wooden rakes in the traditional method. Unrefined sea salt produced along most coastal areas of France, it is typified by a light grey, slightly purple tinge, which comes from the clay found in the salt flats.
Pink salt: does not come from France, Himalayan and the Peruvian and Australia’s Murray River pink salt are perhaps the three most popular varieties.salts are mined from pure salt deposits that lie high in the mountains, and they both possess the rich, mineral flavor that is common to pink salt. The color comes either from the minerals that are bound in with the salt crystals, or from a salt bacteria that produces a red carotenoid pigment.
Black salt: Hawaiian ‘Alaea salt is almost red, these salts take their name from the iron oxide-rich red volcanic clay, called ‘Alaea, which gives them color. Harvested on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, which is their only source, these are claimed to have the highest concentration of trace minerals and elements of all salt.
Persian blue salt: harvested from Iran is dotted with blue crystals, salt crystals that have been highly compressed, causing them to turn blue.
Black kala namak: also known as black salt or sanchal, is an unrefined volcanic table salt with a strong sulphuric flavor. Despite its name, kala namak, which is mined in Central India, is actually light pink in color when ground.
Cyprus island black salt: they say it is dried in lava beds and mixed with activated charcoal for an all-natural detoxifier. Known for its light texture and flavour, it contains sea salt, activated charcoal.
Smoked salt: I infrequently use smoked salts unless I do it myself. Both Maldon from England and Halen Môn in Wales produce a salt that has been smoked over oak wood.
Viking smoked salt: there are many varieties of smoked salts out there, but the company claims it’s produced smoked salt using an intriguing, “millennium old” tradition. Seawater is evaporated in an open container over a fire made from oak, beech, cherry, elm, and juniper, which gives the resulting salt a beautiful coppery color and an intense smoky flavour.
Bamboo Roasted Salt: popular in Korea, this salt might be sold as jukyom, jook yeom, or Korean bamboo salt. It’s made by packing salt into a piece of bamboo, sealing the ends with mud, and heating the stalk in an extremely hot kiln. The salt’s then transferred into a new bamboo sheath and the process is repeated multiple times, supposedly to purify and enhance the product.