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What Is Kosher Salt? The Stardust in a Bottle

By Orgesta Tolaj


21 March 2024

kosher salt

© 8photo / freepik

If you have ever perused the spice aisle at your local grocery store, chances are you have come across a variety of different salt options, including kosher salt. It has gained popularity in the culinary world for its larger, flakier crystals and perceived benefits in enhancing flavor and texture in dishes. However, there is still some confusion surrounding what sets kosher salt apart from traditional table salt and if it truly is superior. So, what exactly is kosher salt, and is it really the best choice for your cooking needs?

What Is Kosher Salt?

Kosher salt is a widely used seasoning in kitchens. It is favored by chefs and home cooks alike for its affordability, availability, and consistency. Unlike table salt, it features larger flakes that are easy to handle and control, minimizing the risk of oversalting. Despite its name, “kosher salt” doesn’t inherently denote a religious significance. Rather, it was historically used in the ‘koshering’ process of meat preparation. This is because of its ability to draw out moisture effectively.

Kosher Salt
© cookie_studio / freepik

Although kosher salt typically lacks additives, it undergoes a refining process that removes naturally occurring minerals found in unrefined salts. While this refining process aims for purity, some argue that these minerals contribute to flavor. Overall, kosher salt remains a popular choice for its versatility and ease of use in culinary applications.

How Is It Different From Other Types of Salt?

Kosher salt differs from other types of salt primarily in its texture and usage. Unlike table salt, which has fine grains, kosher salt features larger, irregularly shaped crystals. This larger size makes it easier to pinch and sprinkle, making it popular among chefs for seasoning dishes during cooking. Additionally, kosher salt is free from additives like iodine, anti-caking agents, or preservatives. These can sometimes be found in table salt. While its flavor and sodium content are comparable to other salts, its larger crystals and lack of additives make it a preferred choice for many culinary applications.

Is Kosher Salt the Best Option?

In essence, the differences between highly refined table salt and unrefined or less refined salts are minimal. All types of salt contain the same amount of sodium chloride, which is linked to health issues like heart attacks and strokes. However, table salt is uniquely fortified with iodine, a crucial nutrient for thyroid health. Iodine deficiency can lead to goiter, a condition characterized by thyroid swelling, and the addition of iodine to table salt in 1924 helped alleviate a goiter epidemic in the U.S. Yet, the increasing popularity of sea salt, kosher salt, and colored salt has raised concerns among experts about a potential resurgence of goiter due to decreased iodine intake.

Kosher Salt
© KamranAydinov / freepik

How Much Salt Intake Is Too Much?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that while Americans consume an average of 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily, the recommended limit is 2,300 milligrams or one teaspoon per day. Since 75% of excess sodium comes from prepared and processed foods, the FDA urges food companies and restaurants to reduce sodium levels over the next decade.

If you want to lower sodium intake, you can:

  1. Avoid processed foods, as they often contain high levels of sodium.
  2. Request low-sodium options when dining out and ask for meals to be prepared without added salt.
  3. Read labels carefully, particularly on soups and processed meats like deli meats, hot dogs, sausage, and ham.
  4. Opt for salt-free snacks such as low-sodium or salt-free crackers, nuts, or snack foods. Consider whole foods like yogurt, fresh fruits, or vegetables.
  5. Enhance flavors with herbs, spices, fresh garlic, or onion instead of salt, as they offer taste without raising blood pressure and may have additional health benefits like anti-inflammatory properties.

Do you use Kosher salt in your daily cooking?

You might also want to read: Truth or Hoax: Can Soy Sauce Kill You?

Orgesta Tolaj

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