When you look at kosher salt, does it really look like sea salt? Well, actually, it doesn't. In fact, the salt on your table has been pre-made and has been in a salt solution for years, so you can't really say sea salt or table salt is any different. But how do you know whether a pre-made kosher salt product is truly kosher?
Well, actually it does matter if you should always use kosher salt when cooking, as you'll discover when you read on. Well, first of all, it's important to understand that although kosher salt is often referred to as sea salt or table salt, it isn't. Nor is it really any more salt than is found in your kitchen cupboard. It's actually a compound of various minerals, salts, and chemicals, and is a necessity in preparing kosher food. So before we go any further, let's take a look at what the essential properties of kosher salt are.
For instance, one of the key elements that make up kosher salt is iodine. This is an essential mineral that helps maintain our bodies' thyroid function, which in turn regulates the production of testosterone, a key element in the breakdown of cells and hormones. That's a great benefit, but the real function of iodine is far greater than just controlling the breakdown of cells and hormones in the body. In fact, iodine is said to have properties that help with the following:
Consuming too much iodine can be problematic for those who have thyroid disorders. Therefore, most kosher salt will contain very small amounts of iodine, and the actual flavor and/or smell of kosher salt is often lost when the salt is consumed in large quantities. When the iodine content is too small, it loses its taste. In contrast, table salt has relatively higher levels of iodine, so it retains the natural flavor and texture. Because of this, the two shouldn't be confused.
Kosher salt is generally lower in magnesium and calcium than table salts. This may seem like a disadvantage since these two are important in regulating blood pressure and muscle contraction. However, the magnesium content in kosher salt is generally only slightly lower than what you find in regular table salts, and the calcium is much more intact. Therefore, the mineral is more readily absorbed by the body, which helps regulate muscle contraction without impacting blood pressure.
Another difference is that kosher salt tends to be less likely to contain additives. Most regular salt will have some form of sodium chloride (or salt), as well as a host of other additives that have nothing to do with the function of the salt itself. For example, salt with a high concentration of hydrochloric acid is highly unlikely to have any positive effect on the body. The same can be said for substances such as larding or starch.
kosher salt also tends to be less refined than regular table salt, which can make for a healthier product. Unrefined kosher salt contains a greater concentration of minerals, including potassium and calcium. Since sea salt is often highly refined, it is not likely to contain nearly as many nutrients.
While kosher salt is not likely to cause health problems, there are certain advantages that you might prefer that regular table salt may not offer. Perhaps the biggest advantage is its ability to provide an unlimited number of different flavor combinations, from traditional saltiness to a hint of sour cream. For this reason, pickling is very popular among people who eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits.