Wednesday, April 8, 2015


 (Sodium Chloride) 

Although salt unlike pepper is not an herb but a mineral, it possesses many of the same characteristics in regard to enhancing the flavor of foods and it also compliments herbs in culinary endeavors.  The history of salt is more ancient than pepper and until about 100 years ago, it was one of the most sought after commodities in human history.  Ancient civilizations used it in food preparation, but also to preserve food allowing it to be transported.  Salted meats and fish were dietary staples.  In addition, salt was used for mummification of the dead, to seal agreements between people and was used as payment for Greek slaves and Roman soldiers which is where we get the phrase “not worth his salt.”  There are more than 50 references to salt in the Bible and da Vinci even portrayed Judas in “The Last Supper” in the act of spilling salt, a symbol of betrayal.


Until the 20th century, each region of the world produced salt through one of three main processes:


  • Sea salt, the newest craving in the haute food world, and Artisan salt used by top chefs, are produced by evaporating seawater from shallow ponds along marshy coastlines and contain other minerals and salts which give them a rainbow of colors from grey to red in addition to white.





Fleur de sol (flower of the sea) - crème de la crème from northwestern France.  Best Uses: An unrefined finishing salt with violet-like aroma.
Herb Pairing Suggestions:
great garnish for any herbed dish





Celtic grey - lowest in sodium of all the salts available and one of the richest in precious beneficial elements from the marshes of the Brittany coast of France.  Best Uses: Cooking and finishing salt with briny flavor.
Herb Pairing Suggestions:
garlic, cumin, bay leaves, thyme


Red Alaea – high in minerals from the red clay lined pools in Hawaii. 
Best Uses:
Great for roasting and grilling, and in rubs with a moist, crunchy texture and buttery flavor.
Herb Pairing Suggestions:
pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, turmeric, saffron, garlic, bay leaves, thyme  


  • Kosher salt which can be mined or from the sea and has a coarser texture.   Its structure—uneven and jagged crystals—is what makes it so valuable. Its shape helps it dissolve much quicker on the tongue, and it’s easy to pick up by the pinch. Plus, the large surface area of the crystals imparts a lot of flavor, so you can use less.
    Best Uses:
    Great for everyday cooking with a smooth, unaggressive flavor
    Herb Pairing Suggestions:
    complements all herbs and spices
  • Mined salts, also called rock salts, are extracted from the earth like other precious mined commodities, and are generally processed by being boiled in brine from which the liquid evaporates, leaving mountains of chunky salt crystals behind.  Some of these crystals are actually slabs, which are large enough that you can bake or grill foods directly on them, seasoning the food with a luscious natural brine.

Table salt, which is the most purified form of salt with uniformly square shaped crystals that dissolve slowly on the tongue, is produced from harvesting and processing solid rock salt from underground mines.
Best Uses: Everyday cooking with a perfect pour and inclusion of iodine to prevent thyroid goiters.
Herb Pairing Suggestions:
complements all herbs and spices 





Himalayan – high in 84 minerals from the Himalayan mountains. 
Best Uses:
Cooking or finishing salt with a rich mineral flavor
Herb Pairing Suggestions:
rosemary, oregano, basil, garlic, bay leaves, thyme



The salt industry cites more than 14,000 different uses of salt.  In the chef’s kitchen, it is the most important ingredient for flavor.  Salt also controls the activity of yeast in baking, is indispensable in making cheese and is essential to pickling.  Here’s a list of some other common uses in the kitchen:

  • Boiling water at higher temperature thus reducing cooking time
  • Eggs boiled in salted water peel easily
  • Soaking in salted water prevents browning of apples, pears and potatoes
  • Salt cleans the greasiest iron pans
  • Remove coffee and tea stains in cups by rubbing with salt
  • Use salt to extinguish grease fires
  • A pinch of salt improves flavor and removes bitterness of coffee
  • Rub tarnished silverware with salt before washing
  • Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar to remove onion odor
  • Rub cutting boards after washing with damp cloth dipped in salt to brighten
  • Rub on griddles and pans to prevent food from sticking
  • Wrap cheese in a cloth dampened with saltwater to prevent mold
  • Adding a pinch to milk will keep it fresh longer


The United States is the largest producer
and consumer of salt worldwide,
however, 51% of this salt
is used for de-icing roads!



"You are the salt of the earth.
But if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,
except to be thrown out and trampled by men
Matthew 5:13

No comments: