Equal weights of different salts, photo by Donna

Equal weights of different salts, photo by Donna. Notice the difference in volume between the kosher and fleur de sel.

After my minor salt rant, a number of people asked which salt to use and what I thought about various salts.  There are a mind-numbing array of salts out there, even big blocks of salt you can cook and serve on.  But, with apologies to Mark Bitterman, whose work and business I truly admire, I stick to three salts.  Kosher is my all-purpose, everyday, really-don’t-need-any-other-kind salt.  I use Morton’s because that’s what my grocery store stocks. If they offered a choice, I’d use Diamond Crystal, which is flakier and doesn’t have any anti-caking agents in it.  It’s just salt.  I use fine sea salt to season fish and vegetables I eat raw.  And I use a finishing salt for visual and textural appeal, fleur de sel or Maldon.

I was given some smoked salt, which was fun, very nice on tomatoes.  I love to sprinkle truffle salt on popcorn.  I like heavy crunchy gray salt on a strip steak. And I used the coarse sea salt, above, on pretzels.

Again there’s nothing wrong with saffron-flavored salt or vanilla salt—they’re fun to play with (I’ll bet that vanilla salt would be great to finish a caramel sundae with). But as a rule, stick to kosher salt and you’re pretty much good to go for all your salting needs.  And again, it’s not the salt on the kitchen counter that’s the problem in the American diet. It’s the hidden sodium in all the canned, boxed, and fast food we can’t keep our hands off of.  Most people, if they eat fresh food, they can season it all they like with salt.


66 Wonderful responses to “What Salt Should I Use?”

  • Andrew

    I have some smoked chihuahua de mexico smoked salt I bought b/c it smelled so good. What do you think it’s best application would be?

  • Matthew Kayahara

    I tend to view flavoured salts the same way I view flavoured oils: I don’t see why I need them when I already keep herbs and spices in my kitchen. That said, I do have a number of “specialty” salts on hand; most of them were gifts. I use kosher salt for everyday seasoning, coarse pickling salt for pickling and for seasoning pasta water (it’s cheaper than kosher), fleur de sel and Maldon for finishing dishes. I also use smoked salt when I want a smoky flavour without going to the barbecue, and I have a couple of “red” salts that provide a striking contrast on white foods (soups, scallops, etc.).

  • mel h.

    I keep some Morton’s table salt for all the recipes that call for a tablespoon of salt etc (not measuring salt by weight)

  • David Dadekian

    I’m in complete agreement with you. I’ve tried tons of salts and other than finishing with something “flavored,” I’ve never found that big a use for anything other than Diamond kosher. When I do have to use Morton’s (our grocery store in Maine only has that) I have to remember it’s “saltier” than Diamond, which I always assumed was due to the noticeable shape difference. We keep coarse sea salt in a grinder on the table for everyday finishing. But as usual, I’m always curious to try things so now I want to find some (or make some) vanilla salt.

  • Walker Lawrence

    I use those three salts, as well as grey salt, smoked salt, and black salt.

    Kosher is my main salt, everyday lifter. I use Morton’s because I have no other choice.

    I often will make a blend of spices (Herbs de Provence is my favorite) with Grey Salt for vegetable to be dipped for an appetizer (great on fresh radishes picked out of the garden). I’ve also used various salt blends from our local spice house before, but only as gifts. I prefer grey salt over fleur de sel as a finishing salt grilled meat. I’m not sure why, but I like it.

    I often use smoked salt in my dry rubs for grilling. It compliments smoked paprika and cumin very well. However, there’s always kosher salt in my blends of spices.

    Black salt was a gift a few years back and I really like it’s color and subtle flavor. Olive oil poached halibut, elegantly white, with a sprinkle of black salt on top is really divine and makes a dramatic presentation.

  • Jason

    I love kosher salt for every day cooking, but finishing salts have their occasional place in my kitchen. Most at-home cooks will never reach for a finishing salt, but the bright sparkle of fleur de sel on warm farmers’ market tomatoes is a summer delight. I like smoked salt as well, but the flavor tends to be very strong, so it needs to be used very sparingly. I like to toast an English muffin, smear with (unsalted) butter, then sprinkle on some smoked salt.

  • Patrick

    Any idea why it is that tomatoes benefit so much from salt? I checked McGee to no avail, and couldn’t find anything useful in a quick web search either. Obviously the salt helps to balance the great acidity and sweetness of tomatoes, but is there something chemical going on too?

  • Angela

    I use Morton’s kosher in everything but baking, where I use table salt, as I read somewhere that table salt is preferred in baking. I’m now curious about the Diamond Crystal salt.

  • Carri

    I primarily use kosher salt at home and at the bakery, my only small complaint is that the grains are too big to go through the tamis when sifting together dry ingredients. I just dry whisk it in afterwords. There are some amazing sea salts collected by small operations and it’s great way to support local enterprise and have a tasty memory from different places when we travel. Hawaiian sea salt is transforming on fish.

  • Jim Dixon

    Full disclosure: I sell Necton sea salt from Portugal.

    There are a couple of reasons to use good sea salt instead of refined salts such as kosher salt. One is flavor. Nearly all of the salt produced world-wide, no matter the process, is destined for industrial use (paint, PVC, etc). Industrial users want it to be as close to 100% sodium chloride as possible. Larger salt producers try to meet this goal.

    Small producers of culinary salts don’t mind less than pure sodium chloride, and in fact embrace the trace elements in their salts. The salt I sell and use at home is 96-97% sodium chloride; that other 3-4% consists of the micronutrients in seawater, including magnesium and potassium. These trace elements buffer the bitter flavor of sodium chloride.

    While it is subtle, you can taste the difference. I tell my customers to poach or fry a couple of eggs, then eat one with ordinary table or kosher salt, the other with Necton or a comparable sea salt. One of my restaurant customers uses Necton salt in the kitchen because, as the chef/owner told me, “When we ran out once and switched back to kosher, the cooks complained that the food tasted like crap.”

    The other reason is political. Diamond Crystal is part of Cargill, one of the bigger cogs in the industrial food system. If you want to vote with your fork for a more sustainable food system, look for another salt.

    More about Necton here:


  • lisaiscooking

    I could eat truffle salt on popcorn forever. Also, I’ve recently been enlightened about hibiscus salt for fish. I have dried hibiscus flowers (for tea) that I’ll grind in a coffee grinder and mix with salt. Haven’t used it yet but can’t wait. I’ve found smoked salt can be very smoky but used in small amounts is fantastic with sauteed greens.

  • Carrie

    Super basic home cook here, so the box of Morton’s kosher is as exotic as I get. Although I do have some sea salt in a grinder that I use for fun. Honestly as I’m skeptical in nature I’ve always suspected they were exactly the same and it was just food snobbery at work.

    Thanks for the info Jim – I was really wondering what the difference in taste could possibly be between sea and kosher salt, and your comment made a lot of sense.

    Maybe I’ll ask for truffle salt for my birthday – we make a lot of popcorn here and that sounds great!

  • Elliott Papineau

    I use Diamond and Trader Joe’s sea salt. The TJ’s has a slighly sweet taste and a good crunch. What kind of sea salts does everyone else use?

  • Amy Viny

    Agreed!!! Its the salt lurking in processed foods that accounts for most of the sodium problem. Lets not get all freaked about a little good salt that good cooking requires. My basic go to salt is Diamond Crystal-I find it has a clean “less salty” flavor maybe because they don’t use an anti-caking agent. I’ve also heard that the shape of the crystal is different than Morton’s-which might account for the flavor difference. For some reason I can’t buy it locally so when I travel I’m always hauling back a couple boxes (the husband finds this odd). I also LOVE grey salt from France-not the fancy stuff. It’s sold in quite plain plastic 1 lb. sacks in grocery stores there for cheap. I’ve also hauled this salt back in my luggage and forced friends to do the same (once again to the husband’s great chagrin). I too am not a fan of most of the flavored salts but not long ago a friend bought me a small jar of uber expensive truffle salt. AWESOME! I could practically eat it with a spoon.

  • Paul Kobulnicky

    I always wondered who checks sea salt for the presence of heavy metal salts? Some of the best sea salt production areas are places where industrial by-products are likely, no?

  • The FoodNinja

    The copy editor in me flinched when I hit this phrase: “who’s work and business I truly admire.” It should be “whose.” Just FYI.

  • Camille

    I’m like you, I use three salts, but instead of Kosher, I use coarse sea salt (sel gros de Camargue). Admittedly, this has a lot to do with the fact that since moving to France I haven’t seen so much as a grain of kosher salt. But the difference is minimal, since I season in increments as I cook, tasting along the way, so I haven’t had any problems with over- or undersalting.

    I’ve been feeling a little guilty lately about all the salt I use while cooking, but you’re right: fresh food, appropriately seasoned, should be just fine. Thanks!

  • Synonym

    I use Diamond Crystal for bulk seasoning savory food. I use table salt (Morton’s non-iodized) for baking, and Maldon Sea Salt for finishing (I also use Maldon on cooked green veggies.) I love Maldon’s pyramidal texture on the tongue. I like kosher salt for its ease of grip and the fact that it’s lower weight which makes it more difficult to over-salt foods.

  • Niki

    Here in Australia we’ve always wondered what kosher salt is. I thought it may have been salt flakes, like fleur de sel, but that picture indicates otherwise. What’s the difference between kosher & table salt? Here, we just have table salt (free flowing, very fine grains), rock salt for salt grinders and, in the last 7 or so years, sea salt flakes (Like Maldon sea salt or our local pink Murray River salt flakes – finishing salt or fleur de sel, I guess). So, where does kosher fit in amongst these?

  • Jason Yee

    I’d add table salt to the list for salting water (pasta, blanching, etc). Normal table salt is saltier and costs much less than kosher, so economically it works well for making water salty… especially when you’re just going to dump most of that water down the drain.

  • Jose Canseco

    This is really not a processed food issue. Granted, there are processed foods with ridiculous salt levels (check the back of a bag of doritos), but to suggest that we are capable of regulating salt in our diets by cooking at home is unbased.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. The salt problem comes from salt. America (and the world) has a lust for salt. Why were soldiers paid in salt (salary)? Besides preservation, it makes things taste fucking delicious.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s guise is a frozen dinner, a bag of chips, or a salt pig filled wih kosher salt on some foodie’s counter.

    My mother eats absolutely no processed food (former hippie), and still needs to reduce her salt intake to maintain healthy blood pressure.

    Here’s a good example. Ruhlman’s basic sausage farce, calls for 40g salt for approximately 20 links. That comes out fo 2g salt per link, or 2000mg per serving. That’s an entire days worth of salt in one component of one meal.

  • Nancy

    Michael – there is a variety store on S. Taylor near Mister Brisket that carried Diamond Crystal; Hank at Mister B got me a bunch the last time I ordered from him (don’t know if they still have it). You can also find Diamond Crystal at GFS. And the guys at Appetite on Mayfield Road will sell you a box if you ask nicely!

    I think the anticaking agent in Morton’s ruins the taste and texture of the salt; that’s why I go so far out of the way sometimes to make sure we have Diamond Crystal. Can’t understand why none of the supermarkets in Cleveland sell it – its a Cargill product, after all.

  • Leigh

    I use kosher salt for everyday cooking, fine grain sea salt for baking and Murray River salt for finishing. I mean to purchase some fleur de sel eventually, but those three salts serve me rather well.

  • Niki

    But Murray River salt *is* fleur de sel…isn’t it? See, down under we’re CONFUSED about all these terminologies! 😉

  • luis

    Good one JD. I remember broaching this subject before at the enticing of this most informed blog and the gentle push from Michaels post which always seem to be opening my eyes to new food horizons.

    At that time and even now I am struggling with the business of seasoning food properly and how properly seasoned food should taste.

    Funny thing I never bring potato chips home…however if someone leaves a humogous open bag of chips laying around….then I reach for them.. Something about sugar fat and salt….

    Anyway I tried seasoning with sea salt once. I found sea salt to be saltier and even less forgiving than Kosher salt. At that time I decided to use only on type of salt because I wasn’t ready for anything else.

    If the day comes I have the chops to experiment with different sallts I will remember Michaels blog and how it openned that door for me.

  • Mark Bitterman

    Hey Michael, I totally agree, three salts is enough for any household. But you know my opinion: the salts you eat should reflect your values as a chef no less than the grade of a meat or the freshness of a vegetable.

    Three salts: Coarse, moist Sel Gris for all around cooking and hearty foods like grilled and roasted meats and roots. Delicate, irregular crystals of Fleur de Sel for subtler, moist foods like fish, sauced foods, and cooked vegetables. Parchment fine Flake Salts for fresh vegetables and wherever you want a dramatic salty snap. Ingredients matter! I think you make this case yourself in Soul of the Chef.

    I’ve posted a slightly longer string of thoughts at http://www.saltnews.org.

  • Kit

    I have a ludicrous array and variety of salts at home and it drives my wife batty and even wears on me a bit. It would seem that an odd salt is the go-to gift for a hobbyist home cook. Any suggestions on using these for more than décor are welcome.

    Most that I have fall into the “finishing” category like Fleur De Sel , Grey Salt, Hawaiian Black Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt (in rock form with a grater and little serving spoon no less), and some kind of Red Salt. It seems that according to the comments here, these are great for meat. Unfortunately, I am a vegetarian. In my experience, black salt provides for an overall grey hue that doesn’t exactly scream “fresh”.

    There are also some strange flavored salts that I don’t really use for anything other than flavoring dipping oils (which more often than not are flavored, too). These are citrus, garlic, smoked (I have two different ones from different woods). and sundried tomato-garlic.

    For my money, I really only *need* two salts: a bulk version that I use for baking and pasta water for which I use the Diamond Crystal and another I use in more measured quantities where I feel like the flavor counts more. I suppose that is the raw vegetable use everyone is referencing. In these instances, I use fleur de sel and grey salt interchangeably. I do notice a flavor difference and wince when cooking in someone else’s kitchen where Morton’s table salt is the only option.

  • Fran

    Do you all eat enough fish not to need the iodine added to regular table salt?

  • Fran

    BTW, an entire bag of Cheetos (8 1/2 oz.) has less salt than a large Manhattan clam chowder from the Oyster Bar or a strip steak and creamed spinach from Michael Jordan’s.

  • luis

    Fran, that is interesting and it is why as I reach my golden years I am cooking and eating at home. The comercial food industry iincluding the restaurant industry is marching to the tune of hitting the three points of the food compass. Sugar, Fat and Salt. Ever since I have been cooking at home I seldom enjoy a meal when eating out. Or I will enjoy the soup and hate the entree which is served shovel ready for me to bag and take home…. the meal that keeps on giving…Today I received and tested a nu-wave oven to go with my induction top… LOVE IT… Imagine Bittman would not look cool enough using on of these… but I LOVE IT.. Hey Mark there is something wrong with the link you provided. I would like to read your comments very much. Thanks.

  • Louis Doench

    I have my box of morton’s that i use for seasong, a grinder of Trader Joes sea salt for finishing and a plain old can of Mortons Iodized for baking. And a shaker of popcorn salt for, well, popcorn of course.

  • bob delgrosso

    @Jason Yee

    “Normal table salt is saltier and costs much less than kosher,”

    Not exactly. Normal table salt placed on the tongue by itself inspires a more profound experience of the salty taste than Kosher salt tasted the same way because the smaller grains of table salt dissolve faster and stimulate the taste receptors more rapidly. That is, table salt creates a larger bolus of saltiness in the CNS.

    Otherwise they are exactly the same. There is essentially the same amount of sodium chloride ions in a gram of table and a gram of Kosher salt.

    BTW, I use table salt for salting water for cooking because it is usually the cheapest salt around.

  • Natalie Sztern

    I happened one day to have occasion to grind toasted coriander seeds and poured the left over powder into my salt pig (what a name!) with my kosher salt and the flavor profile for my palate was insanely flavorful, much more so than any other salt I have ever flavored…that said fresh,ripe sliced tomatoes with salt is absolutely aphrodisiacal.

    And one day I will invest in those salt blocks, Michael Bitterman…because I can’t imagine once using these, that I would ever ‘want’ to go back to regular plates…only one question…how does one sanitize these salt blocks?

  • mary lynn

    Niki, In the states, kosher salt is called that because it is used in koshering meats and for no other reason.

  • Richard Rankin

    I use Kosher for general cooking, but now use far less salt while cooking. Instead, I keep a supply of finishing salts on the table for people to use. My favorites are Maldon’s and Aussie Murray River salt, but also keep Maldon’s smoked salt, plus red and black Hawaiian salts. My daughter is a huge fan of grey sea salt, and I used to love Portuguese ‘salt cream’ from The Spice house until it got too expensive for me.

  • Jeff Meeker

    I use Diamond Kosher when cooking, Morton’s table salt when baking (unless recipe actually calls for kosher salt. Few seem to) and Morton’s popcorn salt for popcorn and sometimes french fries or potato chips. The fineness of the popcorn salt can actually be better than the coarse stuff.

  • luis

    Maybe this is something I need to check out. The concept of a finishing salt.
    Who woulda thunk it?… Not a salt you would cook with but a salt you put afterwards on the table.
    This ..because large gatherings have widely different tastes… or because we like to put salt on salt?? or because a finishing salt brings something to the party and is not something you cook with?… Like finding yet another misterious spice….
    I like the information here. If nothing else it makes one stop and think.

  • chadzilla

    Maldon over Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream… my favorite late night dessert.
    Thanks for the post… you are really worth your salt.

  • Jeanne

    Mmmmm, salt. I love smoked salt for finishing paella – since I never make it over a wood fire like I probably should.

    Other than that, kosher all the way.

  • marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    Thanks for the salty tips! I enjoy experimenting with all the salty goodness that is out there these days. Great to read your take on the essential pantry salt. I have no worries about our salt intake, I cook everything. Makes life easier and tastier, huh!

  • Rhonda

    Salt is a very complicated and very simple issue at the same time.

    For the home cook, I completely 100% agree with Michael’s advice. You only need 3. In fact, just start with one — Kosher Salt. Just start.

    My concern, is that home cooks are buying out -of- season fruits and vegetables, crap agri-farmed meat and poultry and then seasoning it at the end of cooking, or worse, at the table, with iodised table salt.

    Much agri-farmed pork for example is pre-salted to preserve it and make it last longer on the grocery store shelves. This is also why, when you buy butter directly off the shelf at the grocery store, it is full of salt. The salt is used to preserve the butter. If you want unsalted butter and are in a grocery story, look in the frozen foods section. It quite often stored there because if not heavily salted, butter will go bad quickly, so it needs to be preserved by being frozen so that the store will not incur a loss. The butter you choose to use may also add unnessecary salt to your diet that you may not have accounted for.

    If you cook at home and find yourself with hypertension, this could be the cause. It is not because you are cooking at home, it is because you are using ingredients that will essentially, betray you.

    In my mind, it is not the sodium content, it is the iodine which is found in common table salt.

    In most cases, iodine is not added to Sea Salt, Fleur de Sel or Kosher Salt. I say, “in most cases” , because there may be demented manufacturers somewhere that are and we may be in the position of being lied to about what is actually in our food once again.

    I realize that not everyone has a farmers market near them or can buy organic meat and produce all the time, and if some cases — ever (no need for a vitriolic email from Tony). However, the salt you use may be a small, affordable step to upgrading your food experience.

    If you have access to, and the means to obtain higher grades of salt, this will enhance excellent quality food.

    HOWEVER: There are certain Food Network personalities out there who advise home cooks to use some pre-packaged ingredients in their food. It is those items that will up the sodium content. Using an expensive salt on this type of food is ludicrous and is a waste of money. Let the canned mushroom soup in the casserole that the Food Network personality advised you to use supply the salt you crave.

    I hope this helps.

  • Nancy

    Hello michael,

    As always, I enjoyed this post. Here is my question. Since kosher salt has 1/2 the sodium as table salt (due I believe to the larger grain size of kosher salt) do you increase the amount of kosher salt you use in a standard recipe since most recipes are based on table salt?

  • Rob Pattison

    For my money, Murray River salt is the best – not too salty, beautiful sprinkled on a spoonful of white rice. Fleur de sel is a close second. I’ll use either of these to salt meat before grilling, or as a finishing salt. Pink Himalayan rock salt is way too salty for my taste, although cool to look at.

    I use kosher salt to salt water for pasta and vegetables, or in a sauce – I find it a little on the salty side for seasoning meat or veg directly.

    I’d use table salt to de-ice my sidewalk, but it’s too fine grained.

  • Laura

    Just received the book “Ratio” last week. Have made the chocolate chip cookies twice. The one thing my family has noticed is the salt taste. I usually use “Real Salt” which is a mineral salt. For these cookies, I have used a 1/2 t
    of kosher salt. My family and I figure it must be the larger particles of the kosher salt which are causing the saltier taste.

    We are not complaining, as a matter of f act, we are liking the taste of the cookie, just not sure why it is so prominent.

    Since we cook most of our foods from scratch, processed and take out foods seem very salty to me!

  • Metaxa

    Regional terminologies may get in the way but here (Canada) table salt has about three or four ingredients, one of them sugar! so do you all have access to pickling salt? Might be called something else but it is pure salt used for, well, pickles and stuff. Additives would cloud the brines.

    That is what I use for salting pasta water or a shrimp or crab boil.
    It is inexpensive and no additives.

    I make my own salt, of a sort. Living on Vancouver Island with ready access, its relatively easy. I use a dark green kids wading pool, fill it with about 5-6 inches of filtered through cheesecloth sea water and then more cloth over as a leaf and litter barrier and let evaporation take its course. Its tented, not draped.

    You get a bloom that slowly grows until it sinks to the bottom, when all the water evaporates you have very damp salt in the bottom. Scrape it up, spread it out to dry, wizz in a food processor or spice grinder (if you will) and done. Really good and fun. We do it frontier style, not foodie style so no special name for it or labels on cute jars…we just use it as a table salt.

    Maybe I should smoke it, get some jars. I could retire, eh?

  • Tom

    I wish my store stocked Diamond kosher salt if only so I could try it. Maybe I just need to do some more sleuthing

  • Priscilla

    As a Australian I do not understand what Kosher salt is and neither do my Jewish firends

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    I considered my salt collection to be pretty exotic once I added some grey salt to the mix but that was a couple of years ago when I used table salt for seasoning and kosher salt for making ice cream!

    Now I have a variety of salts I love to use, mostly made possible by a local spice shop that stocks a variety of salts. Maldon adds a great visual appeal to food. I have some Hawaiian pink salt that tastes different but mostly I use it for salads when I just think the color will add a punch. I’ve got smoked salt that I love on salmon and…well, do get Diamond Crystal Kosher salt too Tom.

    Although they are local, http://www.savoryspiceshop.com is also online and thought I would share with Priscilla what they say about kosher salt:

    Kosher salt was a term that was created by kosher butchers referring to the size of the salt crystal rather than the fact of the salt actually being kosher. Kosher salt itself is not kosher, meaning it doesn’t conform to Jewish food laws, but instead is used to make meats kosher. This salt is not really a kosher product unless it bears the kosher symbol.

    Who knew? (Not me!)

  • Nathan Pralle

    Like most home cooks, we used to use standard table salt and then some years ago were gifted with some sea salt. It was nice, but reaching for the standard shaker was easier than pulling out the little bag and sprinkling it, so we didn’t use it.

    Then enter my current salt grinder, given by a friend, along with another bag of sea salt. Suddenly it was easy to use and we switched and have never looked back.

    We now use kosher for everyday use as well and sea for more delicate flavors/applications. I have yet to find a fleur de sel around here that is anything decent; I really want to try making my own the next time I am in Australia on the beach, as in theory it’s very easy if you have ocean water, a pot, and a lot of time. Anyone else made their own before?

    My wife still gawks in amazement about how much better “real” salt tastes and works in the kitchen, and I couldn’t agree more. For something so ubiquitous, why do so many of us insist on using crap?

  • HankShaw

    In general I am with ya, Michael. But I will second those people who use smoked salt and the colored salts — I have not real use for flavored salts. I use smoked salt VERY sparingly, as it can take over. I also like the Hawaiian red and black salts for visual interest. A little red salt and fresh black pepper on a white food like fish really snaps the eye, IMHO.

    One side note: Kosher salt is NOT pickling salt, as I am sure you know. Both are good, but pickling salt is finer so it can dissolve easier. I’ve had some bad experiences pickling with kosher from a recipe calling for pickling salt…

  • Michelle

    So, should we use the Diamond Crystal now that we know it’s Cargill? I buy Diamond Crystal on sale at Supertarget for .99 cents a can.

  • Rhonda


    This is excellent information! I am going to investigate this more.

    What I know for sure is that the “Table Salt” that is sold in boxes (in Canada and I am sure, the US) is bad. It has been tampered with. It is not pure. I avoid it like the plague. It simply tastes awful.

    As you know, salt is one of the, if not the most important ingredients in cooking.

    We now know that large corporations are fucking with our food. There is hidden FrankenCorn in most everything and they are screwing with the wheat. I never heard of gluten intolerance before and now it is common. It must be the wheat! Somebody, somewhere, is screwing with it because 20 years ago, gluten intolerance was rare. Now, it is becoming commonplace.

    Your comment led me to review Ruhlman’s previous post on salt and there was a response to me from JW, which I appreciated very much.

    I want to learn more about this and will continue to read on the subject.

    Thanks for the information.

    Best to you,


  • Natalie Sztern

    Metaxa : u are right!! just looked at my box of sel de table…(Quebec and all) and sure enough it has dextrose!!…but not my Kosher salt….

  • Natalie Sztern

    FYI table salt made into a paste with lemon juice or vinegar is a great cleaner…especially for the inside of copper pots…FYI

  • bob delgrosso

    Kosher salt has about 15% less sodium relative to table salt >per unit volume<. However, when you weigh the two (as opposed to measuring teaspoons, tablespoons and other volume measures) they have the same amount of sodium. So, one weighed (or massed) ounce of table salt has the same amount of sodium as one weighed ounce of Kosher salt.

    Okay, the answer to your question is "Yes." When you sub Kosher salt for table salt in a recipe that calls for a given volume of the former you need to increase the amount of Kosher salt by approx 15-20 %.

  • Rhonda

    Chef del Grosso:

    I love you for so many reasons. Especially because I know you went away and weighed salt and came to scientific conclusions about sodium.

    Did you see Metaxa’s comment vis-a-vis the additional additives that go into common place table salt in Canada (and the US because, that’s where we get it from)?

    I think this is why my panties are in a twist. I always knew something was wrong with the salt that is sold to the masses but couldn’t put my finger on it.

    I don’t think we are dealing with a sodium issue. I think we are dealing with an additive issue. What the fuck is in table salt really?

  • Fred

    Not all “sea salt” comes from the sea. I believe it was in Kurlansky’s “Salt” where I read a bit about certain companies that were marketing salt that came from inland mines as “sea-salt”. The logic was that these deposits were left X million years ago by a body of water and therefore they were technically “sea salt.” By this logic your everyday table salt could be repackaged in a pretty blue or red cylinder, given a fancy French name and sold at a highly inflated price. If you’re going to spend the extra money on the fancy sea salt, its a good idea to know which sea it comes from.

  • bob delgrosso

    When someone wants to make sea salt one of the most common ways to do it is to isolate sea water in a a timber framed basin near the edge of the sea. Then they let the sun drive off the H2O and collect the salt crystals that coalesce at the bottom of the basin. How is this fundamentally different from salt that is created when a sea water is isolated by geological fiat? Is it not the same sea (s) that provides the salt water and the same sun that drives off the water and causes the salt to crystallize?

  • Fred

    The salt is the same sodium chloride, and it dried and crystallized in the same manner, so you are correct, there is no difference there. My point was that almost any salt, whether it is hand harvested in evaporation pools from the Mediterranean or mined from a halite deposit deep in the ground of Saskatchewan or Kansas, can be marketed as sea salt. I would think a lot of people who buy sea salt do so under the impression it is coming from a body of water that still exists, not one that evaporated thousands or even millions of years ago.

  • Max

    My brother turned me on to RealSalt. I was very skeptical at first, because the product marketing was really over the top (e.g. Made from an underground ocean that evaporated millions of years ago…), but I immediately got better feedback on my cooking after using it. I think it’s the trace minerals. It also claims to be naturally iodized. It’s a nice pinkish / gray color.

    I also have used Maldon as a finishing salt, but the biggest noticeable difference in taste came from using RealSalt. Anyone else tried this?

  • Bronwyn

    @Rhonda, Sodium is an issue because it’s sodium. You don’t get too much sodium from eating iodine or glucose (dextrose) you get it from eating too much sodium, i.e. sodium chloride, aka salt. That said, if you don’t have high blood pressure problems you don’t need to cut your salt. I had a very elderly aunt who ended up taking drugs for LOW blood pressure until I told her doctor she’d been eating virtually no salt (her husband got put on a low salt diet so she thought it must be good for her too), so he stopped the drugs and got her salting her food again. You have to remember that the health recommendation to lower salt intake is a public health thing – if we all lower our salt intake the AVERAGE health of the population as a whole will improve. This is not the same thing as everyone’s health improving – it can come from half the people’s health improving, a quarter staying the same, and another quarter getting worse.
    Here in New Zealand we do have to eat iodised salt. Our soils are naturally very low in iodine, and since the foodie craze began, with celebrity chefs telling us to eat non-iodised salt, we have had a major upsurge in thyroid problems. Other countries don’t necessarily have this problem, but we do. So, I use iodised table salt for salting cooking water and making bread and cakes and suchlike, I use coarse sea salt in my grinder for putting on stuff (“finishing”, I suppose if you want to be fancy), and fine non-iodised salt (often the coarse stuff put through a food processor) for making cheese and cured meat things like salami. Our ordinary salt is all sea salt too – we don’t have salt deposits, but we have a lot of sea around us.

  • Mantonat

    About iodine: it’s in almost everything these days, so you don’t really need table salt or fish to get it. Eat fish because you like it. Your body needs so little iodine that if you eat anything at all that’s packaged (bread, canned tomatoes), you’ll get plenty of iodine.
    About fleur de sel: it’s the salt that’s scraped from the top of the harvesting ponds, usually after the prevailing winds have pushed everything to one end. It’s considered more valuable because harvesting it is more labor intensive and some claim that it has a higher mineral content than regular sea salt. It’s usually a little damp and does have a little oceany flavor to it. I had a marguerita rimmed with fleur de sel at a local restaurant and it tasted like someone had put a little fish sauce in it.
    I second the coriander salt comment above! My cilantro plants went to seed last summer so I toasted the seeds, ground them, and mixed them with coarse sea salt. It’s a great addition to vegetable dishes.
    Black salt: I read recently that black salt is not naturally occurring but is sea salt with the addition of activated charcoal. I haven’t noticed a flavor difference but it looks good on some foods. I woudln’t spend money on it, but it was a nice gift. I also wouldn’t mix it into food or add it while cooking, unless – as mentioned above – you want gray food.
    Make my own chevre cheese at home and sometimes serve the cheese rolled into balls and coated with a variety of salts. A fun presentation – great with smoked salt.


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