Kosher Salt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Kosher salt is the salt of the earth used by most Jewish people. It's derived from ground salt mined in three locations: coastal areas (Galilee, Haifa and Ashkenaz), interior areas (Judean Desert) and the Golan Heights. It is a combination of two materials: sand and rock. As for the chemical composition, it's mostly calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and sodium chloride, together with a small number of other substances.

There are many forms of kosher salt, including kosher sea salt, red sea salt, beach salt and kosher dried or baking salt. The latter is a salt that is further processed to make it even more absorbent. Most of the material is sand (calcium chloride) and it's mixed with rock salt (potassium chloride). For other highly absorbent coarse salts, look at Rock salt, brining salt and regular table salt.

The major difference between kosher and regular table salt is the absorption rate. The former has a much higher ratio of absorbing crystal ions (clay-sized particles) to non-crystallized salt molecules. It's basically a better version of deionized sea salt, which no longer has any ions or even trace amounts of sodium and chloride. So sea salt is essentially kosher while kosher sea salt is essentially sea salt.

Kosher salt is used mainly in cooking and baking (although the flavor may be enhanced by mixing it with herbs or seasoning). It's not recommended for use on raw meat. It's also not good for using on fruits or vegetables, raw shellfish, eggs or poultry. However, kosher salt has proven beneficial to people with intestinal disorders like celiac disease. Its high mineral content helps regulate blood sugar and prevent constipation, kidney stones, and other renal problems.

The most important advantage of kosher salt is that its use in food brings us closer to nature's laws. The concentration of minerals improves the taste and makes food more nutritious. In kosher salt, potassium and calcium are usually found together. This is because these minerals occur naturally in seawater. Potassium helps regulate insulin levels. Calcium contributes to strong bones and to good health and strength.

Yet some things in food are better left unrefined, even in their simplest forms. No one wants to ingest anything that has gone through animal or plant life. And yet, we do. Even though it might be more expensive than sea salt, kosher salt does contribute to our nutrition by providing the right combination of minerals. Regular table salt isn't as full of these necessary elements as sea salt.

The best kosher salt will have a lower amount of sodium and fewer coarse particles, making it less sticky and providing a smoother texture. It will have a higher concentration of potassium and calcium. In the same vein, kosher salt tends to have a higher sodium concentration than sea salt. So it will be less refined and have a larger flakes.

When cooking, it is recommended that you use kosher salt and leave out the large flakes. When doing so, you will increase the moistness of your food. This will make the cooking process much faster. If you cook for long enough, you will be able to soak dry grains without having to soak up the water from the cooking process in order to release the nutrients.

Flakes from kosher salt and sea salt are not the only options, when it comes to preparing grains. Other possibilities include burger, wild rice, and even cornmeal. You can cook these grains with little or no salt at all. And they can also help increase the flavor of the cooking process by taking out the rich, salty flavor of other ingredients.

While using kosher salt is an important part of the Jewish dietary laws, many people also choose to use regular table salt, even when cooking for a kosher family. For many kosher salt is seen as "cheap" because kosher salt is a form of rock salt. Unfortunately, kosher salt has lost many of its health benefits over the years. As a result, it is now being used to eliminate the risk of illness from exposure to chemicals and heavy metals in our water supply, as well as to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

Kosher salt does have some drawbacks. The most common kosher salt on the market today is very coarse and contains large crystals that will not dissolve into the water. This salt must be stored in a tightly sealed container to avoid splashing. Also, the large crystals can clog up a pressure washer and prevent the formation of pasta water. However, these drawbacks are outweighed by the many benefits that kosher salt brings to the table – and the fact that kosher salt doesn't smell like fish.