There are many varieties of sea salt on the market today. Each one is high in sodium content. Many people wonder if there’s a way to “buy” sea salt – that is, a salt that’s not all salt. The answer is a resounding yes!
Sea salt contains many beneficial nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, chloride, bromine, carbon dioxide, and iodine. These minerals are good for your body, but some sea salts are significantly higher in sodium than other varieties. This is why you should choose sea salt with caution. Sea salt comes from sea animals and is usually refined and treated with chemicals before it’s shipped around the world. Fine sea salt is sometimes sold as a natural seasoning for cookware, although it’s a much better idea to use sea salt that has been processed.
By watching what goes into the sea salt, you can be assured it’s a natural seasoning as it is sold unrefined. Fine sea salt has trace amounts of iodine and magnesium. Trace amounts of iodine are especially important for those with thyroid problems. Because sea salt contains trace amounts of iodine and magnesium, some people mistakenly think it has a taste similar to canned tuna or salmon. Actually, it has a subtle flavor, much like Cayenne pepper.
If sea salt has too much iodine or other harmful minerals, it’s probably been harvested in an unhealthy manner. There are two common ways this occurs: mining by hand or harvesting using machinery. In mined areas, miners will uncover naturally occurring minerals underground. The minerals are harvested and thrown away. In Harvested by hand, however, the minerals remain and are used in different forms.
One of Fine sea salt’s most notable characteristics is its distinctive flavor. Some cooks describe it as tasting like an old-fashioned butcher’s knife with its distinct salty flavor. It’s a wonderfully satisfying flavor that pairs well with sea foods, fish, cheese, and poultry dishes. Pairing the salt with fish sauces, grilled or baked potatoes and eggplant make a healthy and delicious lunchtime menu.
The problem with sea or kosher table salt is that it usually contains traces of iodine. Even more, sea or table salt may contain high levels of iodine if it contains large amounts of magnesium, which is what is added to make up for the lack of iodine in mined salt. If you’re trying to avoid heavy mineral content with kosher table salt, you can find quality alternatives that don’t contain any added iodine. For instance, dulse, a fish derivative that is taken from the ocean, is very low in iodine and can be added to seafood to replace iodine.
Salt has long been linked to our taste buds, with some experts claiming that salty and sweet tastes are inherited genetically. By contrast, there’s no obvious reason for the identical taste between evaporating seawater and regular table salt, since these have hardly any trace minerals in them. It is believed, however, that evaporated sea salt has far less harmful effects on taste buds than regular salt because the trace minerals are so low.
One of the best ways to enjoy salt’s naturally rich flavors is to pair it with the right food. As a side note, one should never mix regular salt with kosher salt or with sea salt. In doing so, one is sure to add unnecessary calories and sodium that can exacerbate the effects of high blood pressure and heart disease. If you’re not cooking, you can always sprinkle it on top of your favorite foods to add a hint of salty air to something otherwise bland. The most versatile kind of salt is probably the one that comes to your table already prepared; the rest can be mixed with other ingredients to create new and interesting flavors.