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Jormungandr
11-15-2010, 04:23 AM
I've been seeing more products with sea salt in them claiming to be more healthier as they have less sodium as well as taste better than regular salt. So, is it healthier? Also, does anyone prefer it over regular salt?

Personally, as salt is one of the few tastes I can recognize (you can have 7 herbs and spices plus salt in a dish and guess what I'll only taste) , the sodium chloride portion would push on through any other minerals.

joebuck20
11-15-2010, 08:42 AM
I've been seeing more products with sea salt in them claiming to be more healthier as they have less sodium as well as taste better than regular salt. So, is it healthier?

I doubt it. Sea salt is the same NaCl that table salt is made from, just in a different shape. Where I can see it making a noticeable difference, at least tastewise, is if you're using as a finishing salt, but that's more of a texture thing than anything else.

tim-n-va
11-15-2010, 08:52 AM
Saw this discussed on a morning talk show (can't remember exactly) but the conclusion was the only difference is the price. The celebrity chef they had discussing it said he didn't use it, sticking with kosher salt in those situations.

Moonlitherial
11-15-2010, 09:20 AM
I use a lot of salt. I find that with sea salt I use less to get the same flavour, although kosher salt offers the same benefit.

TruCelt
11-15-2010, 09:23 AM
Different sea salts taste different to me. I don't know whether the difference is too subtle to stand up to food, but some friends blind tested me and the black vs pink vs off-white salts had very different flavors due tot he other minerals etc. in them. I also had a greenish one once which had a horrid metallic aftertaste.

CaveMike
11-15-2010, 09:23 AM
NPR's Marketplace did a piece on Sea Salt. The mentioned that the there are over a thousand new products being launched with Sea Salt (number from memory, I can't find a link for it). Sounds like this year's chipotle.

Here (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/11/11/131243759/wendy-s-new-fries-add-sea-salt-gourmet-cachet-more-sodium) is an NPR article about Wendy's new fries. It mentioned that the salt is not healthier.

Nava
11-15-2010, 09:27 AM
I lived in the US for 4 years before finding out that most of the table salt sold in the US is mined, not dried. The processing that both kinds need to undertake before being appropriate for human consumption is similar.

As per one of my college teachers, there was a difference way, but a very long way, back when, between sea salt obtained in places where weather makes it feasible to dry it naturally and places where it doesn't: there were locations where someone hit upon the notion of boiling sea water to get salt, but they used copper cauldrons and the copper would get into the salt, producing new and unusual colors when that salt was used as a preservative (if there was enough copper it would also be poisonous, but this is back when people were likely to die of something else before the amount of copper ingested could be dangerous). But between mined salt and sea salt, using modern technologies and the same grain size? Any difference falls into the realm of crystal pyramids.

ETA: those ones TruCelt mentions sound more like specialty salts, not processed by the usual means.

Chefguy
11-15-2010, 10:33 AM
Different sea salts taste different to me. I don't know whether the difference is too subtle to stand up to food, but some friends blind tested me and the black vs pink vs off-white salts had very different flavors due tot he other minerals etc. in them. I also had a greenish one once which had a horrid metallic aftertaste.

Once added to food, it would be highly unlikely that you could tell any difference.

wheresmymind
11-15-2010, 11:17 AM
I don't know how much they process/refine sea salt, but if they simply evaporate sea water you'll end up with ~85% NaCl, with sulfate, Mg, K, and Ca salts making up most of the remainder. By weight this would have less Na than pure NaCl, so some would claim it's "healthier." I don't know if it would taste as salty as pure salt, you might end up needing more to get the same effect.
I suspect that 95% of the perceived difference in sea salt is based on texture and appearance.

RealityChuck
11-15-2010, 11:31 AM
Mined salt IS sea salt. It's just that the sea has long since evaporated away.

Different salts have different textures, but the instant they touch liquid (like on your tongue), they dissolve and you can't tell the difference. IIRC, to be sold as salt in the US, it has to be 99% sodium chloride anyway.

Those who think there's a difference also admire that new suit the Emperor has.

DrDeth
11-15-2010, 11:47 AM
OK, there's "Sea Salt" and there's the various gourmet non-refined "Sea salt" like grey salt aka (wiki) Fleur de sel ("Flower of salt" in French) is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers .


Just plain old fashioned "Sea Salt" is refined, and it costs not a huge amount more than table salt (which may or may not be iodized) (La Baleine costs $15 for 26oz, but you can find it $2 a lb in bulk in non-name brand). It may or may not be iodized. You can not tell the diffference in taste- other than the iodized salt in either case could maybe be detected in certain recipes.:dubious:

Kosher salt is salt that is generally not iodized and has a different grain. Taste is identical, but as long as the crystals are intact, they have a different "mouth feel"- thus Kosher salt is nice for sprinkling on things, but there's no benefit at all at mixing it in.

Fleur de sel ("Flower of salt" in French) and similar non-refined salts are VERY expensive. $15 for 4oz at a discount. They do have a slight taste difference. Again, they are finishing salts, not cooking salts. In the USA they have to pass certain regs to be sold.

Chronos
11-15-2010, 11:57 AM
Campbell's sea-salt soups are lower sodium than their regular soups, but that's not because they're using sea salt. It's because they're using less of it, full stop. The whole business about sea salt is just for marketing purposes.

even sven
11-15-2010, 12:17 PM
From my understanding, sea salt has a larger surface area, meaning that it tastes "saltier" when sprinkled on foods.

But the difference is non-existant when it is disolved as part of the cooking process.

ralph124c
11-15-2010, 12:21 PM
I buy my sea salt at the supermaket-it tastes great (made from 200 million year old sea salt).
The modern stuff just can't compare!:cool:

BMalion
11-15-2010, 12:37 PM
It is twice as good with bacon flavor!

mozchron
11-15-2010, 12:53 PM
In the USA, salt is salt is salt is salt. As stated above, it has to be >99% NaCl to be marketed as salt. Mined salt can be marketed as "sea salt" - there is no regulation controlling this, and again, as stated above mined salt is sea salt. The only minor difference is that it may or may not be iodized.

Some people say that kosher salt or sea salt is "less salty" when used in cooking. This is patent nonsense, if the salt is measured by weight. If measured by volume, they may be correct, since kosher salt (and many marketed "sea salts") have larger grains. When measured by volume, the larger irregular grains do not pack as tightly so there is more space (i.e. air) between them. The recipe tastes less salty because they are adding less salt.

fumster
11-15-2010, 01:15 PM
In the USA, salt is salt is salt is salt. As stated above, it has to be >99% NaCl to be marketed as salt. Mined salt can be marketed as "sea salt" - there is no regulation controlling this, and again, as stated above mined salt is sea salt. The only minor difference is that it may or may not be iodized.

Some people say that kosher salt or sea salt is "less salty" when used in cooking. This is patent nonsense, if the salt is measured by weight. If measured by volume, they may be correct, since kosher salt (and many marketed "sea salts") have larger grains. When measured by volume, the larger irregular grains do not pack as tightly so there is more space (i.e. air) between them. The recipe tastes less salty because they are adding less salt.That is it exactly. Kosher salt is about twice the volume per unit weight. So a teaspoon of Kosher salt is the same as 1/2 tsp of Morton's table salt.

shiftless
11-15-2010, 01:25 PM
I always assumed that sea salt and just plain salt were interchangeable. Can't remember the cooking show (maybe Test Kitchen?) but they measured similar volumes of the salts and then weighed them and, remarkably to me, the sea salt was about 1/2 the weight. So, at least for cooking, the difference is very real unless you do everything by weight.

Besides, would you rather use Salt dug out of the ground by smelly, smoke belching machines or Sea Salt, extracted from the deep ocean by happy sea horses? Plus, with sea salt, the snob in me can extol the ventures of my local, Chesapeake Bay salt over your inferior west coast brand.

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