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  #1  
Old 05-14-2009, 11:42 AM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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Sea salt portions: same as regular salt?

If one normally pours out a small mound of salt in one's hand (about a teaspoon, I guess) and seasons with it, would one use the same amount of sea salt? Or is sea salt like Splenda, in the sense that the quantities used are very different from sugar.

(Also, what does one do about one's iodine needs? Is there an iodized sea salt?)
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2009, 11:54 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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I only use sea salt, and I use less than I would with regular table salt. The flavor is stronger.
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:00 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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I use kosher salt. It takes less to season because the grains are much larger than ordinary table salt. Or at least that's my perception.
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:04 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Salt is salt. The only difference is the size of the grains -- pickling salt, for instance, is so fine that there's more salt in a measure (it's like the difference between putting sand or quartz stones in the same container -- the sand is the same density as the stones, but there's less space between each sand grain than there is between each stone). Kosher salt, because it has larger grains than table salt, has less salt in the same volume.

Chefs prefer kosher salt because they like the way its larger grains feel when they toss it in. It also looks cooler to pick up the grains and drop them into a recipe.

Once you put salt in liquid (and it needs to be in liquid to taste it), all salt is the same.
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Last edited by RealityChuck; 05-14-2009 at 12:06 PM..
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:06 PM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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You'll need to experiment to find the right balance.

I've been told by more than one cook that you will generally use MORE sea salt than table salt. Table salt has iodine added, which makes it more "salty" on the palate.
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:14 PM
Rainbowthief Rainbowthief is offline
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I use kosher salt and sea salt. I usually use use coarse salt, especially on meats, but for vegetables, rice and a few other things I use fine sea salt.

I don't know if it's true, but I was told that sea salt isn't available with iodine because it's not processed the way table salt is.
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:15 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beadalin View Post
You'll need to experiment to find the right balance.

I've been told by more than one cook that you will generally use MORE sea salt than table salt. Table salt has iodine added, which makes it more "salty" on the palate.
Not sure about the iodine part of your comment. I think the more intense saltiness from kosher or sea salt is because the grains have larger surface area to come in contact with your tongue. Salt is pretty much salt when it's cooked. Sprinkled on food, iodized salt has a more chemical flavor to me.
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:19 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Usually sea salt has larger grains. Some brands come in both coarse and fine. You using a salt mill?

No way is all salt salt. Some have a better or stronger flavor than others. My personal favorite is La Baliene which embiggens everything it comes across to a larger degree than any table salt I've used. I bought Morton's sea salt once in a pinch, and it was pretty much a larger-grain version of the rest of the salt they make.
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2009, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Not sure about the iodine part of your comment. I think the more intense saltiness from kosher or sea salt is because the grains have larger surface area to come in contact with your tongue. Salt is pretty much salt when it's cooked. Sprinkled on food, iodized salt has a more chemical flavor to me.
This can't be right. 1 oz. of kosher or sea salt is bound to have less salt than 1 oz. of table salt. Each grain - yes. But per portion? I doubt it.
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:02 PM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Not sure about the iodine part of your comment. I think the more intense saltiness from kosher or sea salt is because the grains have larger surface area to come in contact with your tongue.
It's the opposite. A larger number of smaller grains will cover more surface area than a smaller number of larger grains.
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:27 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeanOldLady View Post
I only use sea salt, and I use less than I would with regular table salt. The flavor is stronger.
You should be doing the opposite. Sea salt is not stronger, but it has larger grains. By weight, more table salt fits into a Tablespoon than does sea salt.

Yes, all salt is salt.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 05-14-2009 at 02:29 PM..
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  #12  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:37 PM
gang green gang green is offline
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Originally Posted by Rainbowthief View Post
I don't know if it's true, but I was told that sea salt isn't available with iodine because it's not processed the way table salt is.
You can get iodized sea salt. I've gotten two different brands. It's hard to find, though.
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  #13  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:49 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Originally Posted by UncleRojelio View Post
It's the opposite. A larger number of smaller grains will cover more surface area than a smaller number of larger grains.
I think what he means - and what I think I've read in sources like Cook's Illustrated - that a large salt grain has a larger surface area to itself so it provides a larger salt-taste "burst" when your tongue touches it. Also, small salt grains are more likely to quickly dissolve into any fluids on the food and thus disperse and dilute their flavor.
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  #14  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:58 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
I think what he means - and what I think I've read in sources like Cook's Illustrated - that a large salt grain has a larger surface area to itself so it provides a larger salt-taste "burst" when your tongue touches it. Also, small salt grains are more likely to quickly dissolve into any fluids on the food and thus disperse and dilute their flavor.
Dilute what flavor? The flavor of the salt, or the flavor of the meat?

Kosher salt was primarily used in koshering because it stuck to the meat better. The stuff we use in salt shakers today has a tendency to just bounce off.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:04 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
Dilute what flavor? The flavor of the salt, or the flavor of the meat?
I think I know what he's saying. The first time I used sea salt, I used a bit more than I normally would have, because of the smaller surface area. But I did get more intense "bursts" of flavor, as table salt doesn't exactly clump together.
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  #16  
Old 05-14-2009, 03:26 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
You should be doing the opposite. Sea salt is not stronger, but it has larger grains. By weight, more table salt fits into a Tablespoon than does sea salt.

Yes, all salt is salt.
Even when I use a salt mill, I use less. Sea salt and run-of-the-mill Morton's taste the same to you?
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  #17  
Old 05-14-2009, 03:30 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Originally Posted by MeanOldLady View Post
Even when I use a salt mill, I use less. Sea salt and run-of-the-mill Morton's taste the same to you?
Morton's salt should taste stronger, if anything. It contains more salt.

ETA: If you're talking about sprinkling on your food, there's a chance sea salt might taste a bit different. Cooked in food, which is what the OP seemed to be referring to, there should be absolutely no difference.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 05-14-2009 at 03:32 PM..
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  #18  
Old 05-14-2009, 03:54 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Well I use it for everything, but there is certainly a noticeable difference between grinding some sea salt over a baked potato, and using shaker of regular salt. After moving to a neighborhood where it's impossible to find any food I like, I've found that not all salt is created equal. And all cayenne pepper is certainly not created equal. That Spice Islands shite can blow me.
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  #19  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:02 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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According to Morton Salt, you need to use a little more coarse kosher salt to equal the finer grained table salt. How much more?

Table.................Kosher
1 teaspoon.......1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon....1 tablespoon + teaspoon
cup............... cup+ 1 teaspoon

And so on. There's also a conversion for fine sea salt.
http://www.mortonsalt.com/salt_guide/index.html
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  #20  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:15 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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One, I don't use Morton's salt of any kind because their coarse sea salt (the only one I've tried) and their regular table salt taste exactly the same to me, which kind of goes against the reason I buy sea salt in the first place. Two, according to the table linked, their salt and coarse sea salt measurements are exactly the same.

I wonder how Morton's would compare to La Baliene's, which I use almost exclusively. Taste tests forthcoming...
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  #21  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:36 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Pretty much the only difference between any of those salts is texture, or size. All of them are around 98% sodium chloride, and the trace minerals are practically nonexistent.
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  #22  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:52 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
Pretty much the only difference between any of those salts is texture, or size. All of them are around 98% sodium chloride, and the trace minerals are practically nonexistent.
I'm not going to necessarily argue the taste of salt, as I'm not that well-versed on it and base my choice of salts on grain structure, but you'd be surprised at how little you need of certain trace elements for them to have an impact on flavor. I mean, coffee is like 98% water, but there's no doubt it tastes like coffee, not water. Once, when I was brewing 5 gallons of beer, a floating thermometer shattered and, unnoticed by me, the little iron pellets that provided it with buoyancy spilled into the wort. That was a total of about a half teaspoon of pellets in 5 gallons of beer. That's less than 1 part in 7000. Everybody who tasted the beer, unprompted, noticed (negatively) its metallic taste. It was pretty much undrinkable (although I didn't have the heart to dump it out, so I saved it for myself.)

Now, I have no idea how much of a difference it makes in terms of salt, but 2% trace minerals sounds like a lot to me.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-14-2009 at 04:53 PM..
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  #23  
Old 05-14-2009, 05:07 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I'm not going to necessarily argue the taste of salt, as I'm not that well-versed on it and base my choice of salts on grain structure, but you'd be surprised at how little you need of certain trace elements for them to have an impact on flavor. I mean, coffee is like 98% water, but there's no doubt it tastes like coffee, not water. Once, when I was brewing 5 gallons of beer, a floating thermometer shattered and, unnoticed by me, the little iron pellets that provided it with buoyancy spilled into the wort. That was a total of about a half teaspoon of pellets in 5 gallons of beer. That's less than 1 part in 7000. Everybody who tasted the beer, unprompted, noticed (negatively) its metallic taste. It was pretty much undrinkable (although I didn't have the heart to dump it out, so I saved it for myself.)

Now, I have no idea how much of a difference it makes in terms of salt, but 2% trace minerals sounds like a lot to me.
The difference between salt, a very strong mineral, and water, a neutral liquid, as backdrop flavors is rather large.

If you took some sea salt, kosher salt & iodized salt & placed each separately in a food processor until they were the same texture, I would bet my next paycheck that nobody here could pair them up in a blind taste test. I've seen it done. It wasn't pretty.
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  #24  
Old 05-14-2009, 05:10 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
I think what he means - and what I think I've read in sources like Cook's Illustrated - that a large salt grain has a larger surface area to itself so it provides a larger salt-taste "burst" when your tongue touches it. Also, small salt grains are more likely to quickly dissolve into any fluids on the food and thus disperse and dilute their flavor.
In a nutshell.
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