Sea Salt &
Gourmet Salts - Guide
Until recently sea salt was considered a
basic commodity—sea salt was just salt! Now
however, gourmet chefs, in homes and in
restaurants, have learned to appreciate and
distinguish between the distinctive
qualities of the many varieties of gourmet
sea salts and the ways these salts enhance
the flavors and finish of foods. The purpose
of this reference guide is to point out the
distinguishing differences among these
deliciously unique sea salts, and also to
define each so you can choose the perfect
gourmet sea salt for your cooking needs.
Sea salt is more of a "finishing" salt than
kosher salt. You could use sea salt
exclusively if it won't break your budget,
but in many uses, kosher salt is just fine,
for example: brining, adding to pasta water,
and in cooking generally.
Sea salt is at its best sprinkled on before
serving -- think: cooked green beans
sprinkled with sea salt.
Chemically there is virtually no difference
between table salt, kosher salt, and fancy
sea salt. All of them are close to 100
percent pure NaCl (sodium chloride), with a
few trace elements thrown in. In the case of
table salt, those additives are there to
prevent it from caking, while for sea salt,
the additives are there naturally when the
salt is harvested from the ocean.
Dissolve those salts in water side by side,
and the differences between them become
nearly indistinguishable, just as they are
when you use them to season your food.
Sea Salt Types:
Salt®: is authentic, unprocessed,
gourmet, whole salt packed full of
naturally occurring, essential minerals.
Absolutely no additives or anything
removed from the salt that would alter it.
A brand name and trademark, since 1976.
Refers to sea salt or kosher salt, salt
that has a much larger grain to it than
common table salt.
Distinctive salts that add something
special when sprinkled on food. Some
finishing salts can also be used as
cooking salts. A good finishing salt has
unique mineral, moisture, and crystal
qualities that play off your food to
create more flavor, better texture, and
A category of salt characterized by their
dry, plate-like ("lamellose") crystals.
Their structure is a result of differing
growth rates between the faces and edges
of the crystal, an effect that can be
achieved in various ways. Flake salts may
occur naturally but can also be produced
by a variety of methods, including boiling
brine over metal salt pans or evaporating
it in greenhouse solar evaporators. The
technologies used as well as atmospheric
conditions can yield varying crystal
structures. Flake salts can form as
irregular shavings, pyramidal shapes,
boxes, or potato chip-like laminated
crystals. These salts tend to have lower
trace mineral content than other salts,
giving them a stronger salty taste. Most
form as thin, flattened out crystals with
a large surface area and low mass that
give them a crunchy texture and relatively
fast dissolution rate. Because of the
salts' delicate structures, selmeliers
tend to use them as finishing salts.
Fleur de Sel:
"flower of salt" in French; is a
hand-harvested sea salt collected by
workers who scrape only the top layer of
salt before it sinks to the bottom of
large salt pans.
French Sea Salt:
Hand-harvested, stone ground sea salt
from the protected Isle of Noirmoutier,
Brittany, France. Also known as Fleur de
Salt: Extra Coarse Sea Salt crystals
for use in salt grinders
Sea Salt: Traditional Hawaiian table
salt, called Alaea, is an unprocessed salt
that is rich in natural seawater minerals.
The Alaea salt is reddish- brown in color
due to the addition of a red volcanic clay
called Alaea. This addition does not alter
the salt’s taste or smell, but does
significantly increase its health
benefits; it is composed of over 80 unique
minerals. Alaea salt has a delicate and
smooth flavor that is mellower and less
salty than regular table salt, and its
texture is intensely crunchy.
Salt: This salt comes from the coasts
of Italy, where the deep green
Mediterranean Ocean is left in ponds to
evaporate in the tropical sun. An
excellent all purpose salt rich in
minerals that works well for cooking and
in condiment mills.
Also known as black salt is a salty
and pungent-smelling condiment used in
south Asia. Several impurities lend the
salt its colour and the smell is mainly
due to its sulfur content.
Kosher salt by definition is no different
from ordinary table salt from a kosher
standpoint. The difference lies in the
fact that kosher salt, unlike regular
table salt, does not have any additives
except for a free-flowing agent such as
-- Kosher salt has larger grains than
ordinary table salt and as such must be
-- Because the grains in Kosher salt are
larger than that of table salt, it
occupies more space but is equal in
-- For this reason, it requires twice the
kosher salt to equal the same weight of
-- Kosher salt is not used in baking
normally due to the fact that it does not
dissolve as well unless there is ample
liquid to facilitate it.
Salt: Salt is a mineral, not a plant,
so it cannot be "organically grown."
However, certified organic salt is
guaranteed to be harvested from a
protected, pollution-free environment and
to be unrefined.
Collected from ocean or sea water
through boiling or evaporation by sun and
wind. Available in many different
varieties and in grinds that range from
coarse to extra-fine.
Salt: Natural smoked salt is coarse
sea salt that's been smoked over wood
fires; it can range in color from light
grey to dark brown. Using smoked salt
lends an assertive smoky aroma and flavor
to foods of all kinds, from grilled fish
to creamy soups and corn-on-the-cob.
Most common salt also known as fine salt.
Often contains additives designed to slow
moisture absorption so that it's easier to
pour in a salt shaker