If you’re a foodie like us, but you’re new in the kitchen, then all these different types of salt might cause a bit of confusion. Kosher salt, sea salt, table salt, fine salt…the choices can be overwhelming! Which one is the right choice for the dish you’re making? Is this salt better than the other? There’s no need to be stressed out, we’ve got you! While most types of salt have the same white color and flavor (salty, you’ve guessed it!), nuances that differentiate them do exist. We’re going to break down the two most commonly used salts – kosher salt and sea salt, and see what the fuss is about.
What is Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt, also known as kitchen salt or cooking salt, is a flakey coarse salt most commonly used for cooking and baking. The term kosher salt might be somewhat misleading though. It could make you think that the salt itself is made under some kind of religious guidelines. But that’s not the case. The term refers to a Jewish tradition of dry brining meats where salt is used to remove the excess blood from the meat. This makes the meat kosher, suitable for Jewish dietary laws.
Kosher salt is typically larger than table salt and has a crystal-like shape. Because of its distinct shape and texture, it’s easier to control the amount of it you use while cooking. Kosher salt is usually made without additives, such as iodine, anti-caking agents or dextrose. That’s why this salt tastes pure, without any metallic aftertaste. With a mild flavor, kosher salt is a great choice for seasoning different dishes, such as pastas, soups and stews. It’s very good for brining meat and even making cocktails. Because of its larger crystals, it doesn’t dissolve as quickly as other salts, so it can be a perfect choice when you want to add a slight crunch to your dish.
What is Sea Salt?
Sea salt is a type of salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater. It is also called bay salt and solar salt. Sea salt comes in all shapes and sizes. Its texture, shape and size depend not only on the salt’s variety, but also on how it’s harvested and processed. While some varieties are finely ground, others are coarse ground. Added to that, sea salt can also be found in the form of crystals and delicate flakes.
Sea salt is very rich in minerals that are naturally found in seawater, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. These minerals give the salt a different, more complex flavor in comparison to table or kosher salt. Sea salt is extremely versatile and compatible with many dishes. It compliments fish and seafood exceptionally well. It can be used as cooking salt, as well as seasoning salt.
Similarly to kosher, sea salt is great for rimming cocktail glasses. Sea salt also has its own varieties that have become extremely popular among professional chefs and cooks all around the globe. The most beloved for its pretty color and texture is probably the Himalayan pink salt. Other honorable mentions are fleur de sel, sel gris (grey salt) and Celtic sea salt.
What’s the Difference between Sea Salt and Kosher Salt?
There are many similarities between kosher salt and sea salt, mostly connected to their use in cooking. But there are also some differences which make each of the salts special and unique. These different traits are related to their origin, texture, flavor and culinary uses.
While kosher salt is typically mined from underground salt mines, sea salt is harvested by evaporating sea or ocean water. After the mining, kosher salt goes through a process of refinement to remove impurities. On the other hand, sea salt is more natural, since it’s less processed than kosher salt. It’s also different in taste, since it contains a lot of minerals existing in sea water.
Regarding texture and size, kosher salt usually comes in the shape of larger crystals or flakes. This trait makes it particularly loved by chefs, since it’s easy to control the amount that’s used while cooking. Then again, sea salt comes in a vast variety of textures. It can be coarse, fine and flakey.
Sea salt is a finishing salt, meaning it’s most commonly used for sprinkling on top of dishes just before serving. This adds a great flavor and a touch of crunchiness which makes food really stand out. Kosher salt is often used for cooking, baking and seasoning during cooking. Its mild flavor and easy-to-control texture make this salt a beloved staple in the kitchen.
And outside of culinary uses, sea salt is used in beauty industry too. You’ll see it in different scrubs, exfoliating cleansers, bath salts and many other products.
Kosher Salt to Sea Salt Conversion
Despite having many similarities, the differences between sea salt and kosher salt shouldn’t be ignored. They are especially important when cooking, since these salts are not 100% interchangeable. And if you’ve ever asked yourself: Can I substitute sea salt for kosher salt? and came up empty-handed, you’re not the only one. That’s why we’ve created a salt conversion chart that will clear any doubts you might’ve had on this topic.
Salt conversion chart
|Kosher salt||Coarse sea salt||Fine sea salt||Table salt||Coarse Himalayan pink salt||Fine Himalayan pink salt|
|1g||1/4 tsp||1/4 tsp||1/4 tsp||1/4 tsp||1/4 tsp||1/4 tsp|
|5g||1 tsp||1 tsp||3/4 tsp||3/4 tsp||1 tsp||1 tsp|
|10g||2 tsp||1 3/4 tsp||2 tsp||1 1/2 tsp||2 tsp||2 tsp|
|15g||1 tbsp||2 3/4 tsp||2 3/4 tsp||2 1/2 tsp||2 3/4 tsp||2 3/4 tsp|
For even more precision, the use of a kitchen scale is always a good option. Since there are different varieties and brands of each salt, the table should be taken as a guideline, not as a strict set of rules. The numbers on the kitchen scale never lie though.
Is Sea Salt Healthier than Kosher Salt?
To say that one type of salt is heathier than other might be considered reaching. Both kosher salt and sea salt are composed of sodium chloride. But, since sea salt naturally contains minerals that can be found in sea water, some people believe that sea salt offers health benefits. However, the traces of minerals found in sea salt are not high enough to provide significant nutritional benefits. There isn’t any actual scientific grounds to label one salt as healthier than the other.
On the other hand, both sea salt and kosher salt are not typically iodized. That means that they don’t contain the added iodine most salt have. So, if iodine intake is an important part of your diet, you may want to consider using iodized table salt or other sources of iodine. But it’s always best to check with your doctor first.
Which ever salt you decide to use, it only really comes down to your personal preference. Regardless of your choice, always remember that the key to a balanced and heathy diet starts with a moderate amount of salt intake.