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You might think that all salts are created equal, but I’d have to humbly beg to differ. Salt is often essential to bringing out the flavors of a dish, but the flavor of the seasoning itself can vary widely. Over the years I’ve built a preference for different salts for different uses, with the result that we now have a number of types on the go. Currently on our salt spectrum…


From left to right:

Table Salt ~ The old standby has the least delicate, most metallic flavor of all the options. On the plus side, it’s cheap to buy in large quantities, and often has added iodine (which helps prevent hypothyroidism). Favorite uses: flavoring pasta water, or in baking.

Sea Salt ~ Pictured here is French grey sea salt with a handy grinder for breaking it up into more edible bits (while retaining the characteristic crunchiness), but sea salt comes in a huge variety of textures and colors. A delicious – though expensive – version is fleur de sel, which is hand-harvested off the top layer of ocean water in several areas in France. Favorite uses: topping finished dishes from salads to pastas to seafood.

Kosher Salt ~ Another inexpensive choice, but with a more pleasing texture than table salt. Because of the larger, flat shape of the grains, kosher salt dissolves less quickly than table salt (hence the name: it’s used in making meat kosher because it stays on the surface longer, helping to draw out fluids). Note – you typically need about twice the amount of kosher salt if substituting it for table, but grain sizes differ so check the box for conversion guidelines. Favorite uses: adding to veggies before roasting, or tossing with edamame.

Specialty Salt ~ I use this title loosely to describe all of those salts you see in gourmet stores which you’re tempted to try despite the ridiculous price tag. Pictured here is a jar of white truffle sea salt flakes, which J put in my Christmas stocking two years ago. We savored it all year and ran out just in time for me to get another holiday treat last year! With that time frame in mind, I say go ahead and splurge on those smoked chipotle salt flakes…

Not pictured but also a part of our salt collection are seasoning salts: my favorite is Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoing, while J prefers Lawry’s. Both contain salt mixed with other spices such as garlic, but Tony’s main secondary ingredient is red pepper, while Lawry’s is (perhaps surprisingly) sugar, which gives it a milder taste. Either adds a nice little kick to foods like eggs or potatoes.

Guess I better get to work on a post about pepper…

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