Sea salt cooking – why use sea salt?
Have you used sea salt when cooking? But why should you use sea salt? Salt, of any kind, is good for the human diet when used correctly. Let’ explore this a bit more.
Sea salt is a popular choice for cooking due to several reasons:
- Natural and Unprocessed: Sea salt is derived from evaporated seawater, and it undergoes minimal processing. It is less refined compared to table salt, which often contains additives and anti-caking agents. Sea salt retains its natural minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which can add subtle flavors to your dishes.
- Flavor Enhancement: Sea salt has a distinct flavor profile and can enhance the taste of your dishes. Its natural minerals contribute to a more complex and nuanced taste compared to regular table salt. Depending on the source, sea salt can have mild to bold flavors, ranging from delicate sweetness to brininess, which can elevate the overall taste of your food.
- Texture and Crunch: Sea salt typically has larger and coarser crystals compared to table salt. This texture can provide a pleasant crunch and a satisfying mouthfeel when sprinkled on top of dishes or used as a finishing salt. The texture can also add visual appeal to your meals.
- Versatility: Sea salt can be used in various culinary applications. It works well as a seasoning during cooking, in marinades, rubs, dressings, and sauces. It can also be used as a finishing salt to add a final touch to a dish just before serving.
- Lower Sodium Content: While sea salt and table salt contain similar amounts of sodium chloride per weight, the larger crystal size of sea salt may make it appear less salty. This can lead to a perception of using less salt overall. However, it’s important to note that from a nutritional standpoint, sea salt and table salt have similar sodium content, so moderation is still key.
Depending on which type of salt you are using there could be dietary benefits or even health and wellness benefits. Salt is a natural and healthy product. Try adding it when you are grilling or garnishing. Add it to recipes, or actually use a salt block to cook on. We will look at the health and wellness benefits later.
When using sea salt in your cooking, it’s advisable to taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, as the intensity of saltiness can vary between different types of sea salt. Additionally, be mindful of any dietary restrictions or health conditions that may require you to limit your salt intake.
Why use sea salt?
Cooking with sea salt
Have you ever cooked food without using salt? I am sure you will agree that if you forget to add salt when cooking, or use too little, your meal can be bland and tasteless. If however you chose the right type of salt, and use the right amount of salt, you can create culinary delights that will not be forgotten in a hurry!
Sea salt has a strong flavor and crunchy texture. As with other salts it loses a bit of flavor and texture when directly added to the cooking process as the crystals dissolve in the heat. But when added as a seasoning at the end of cooking, just before serving, you get the full crunch, texture, and flavor of the salt crystal.
- Start by sourcing good quality sea salt.
- Check the amount of salt required in your recipe and adjust accordingly.
- Sea salt has a larger crystalline structure than refined table salt and can add texture to your meal, especially when sprinkled on as a seasoning.
- Remember the better quality of sea salt the less you need to add to your cooking.
Think of grain and crystal size when adjusting the amount of salt you need to add to your recipe.
Refined table salt > Sea Salt > Himalayan Pink Salt
Sea salt can be used for cooking
- Pasta – add salt to boiling water before adding the pasta.
- Meats – add during cooking or use as a seasoning before serving.
- Vegetables – add to boiling water , drop in your vegetables and cook to your taste
- Potatoes – you can’t cook potatoes without adding salt to the water. You can also add sea salt when mashing to give added texture.
- Baking – whether it is bread, cakes, or dainty scones and shortbread, adding a pinch of salt can truly enhance the flavor of your bake.
- Drinks – sea salt can also be used as a garnish making cocktails
Remember to stay within the recommended daily salt intake guidelines.
Preserving – before we all had fridges in our homes the only way to keep food fresh was by preserving them. This process involved meats, fish, vegetables and dairy products being rubbed, dipped, or stored in boxes filled with salt. This ensured that bacteria couldn’t grow and kept the meat and diary products from turning and the vegetables from rotting.
Today you can purchase preserved products from your local supermarkets – think of things like preserved lemons, fish, and olives. Or if you feel adventurous why not try preserving your own.
Vegetables benefit from brining allowing you to enjoy them throughout the year. Start by filling a sterilized lidded jar with salt and water, then pop in the vegetable of your choice.
Sea Salt recipe ideas
What else can I use it for?
The Health & Wellbeing sector has seen an increase in the use of natural products – with salt being a welcome addition.
- Salt baths – sprinkle a handful of bath crystals, or throw in a salt bath bomb, lie back and let those aches and pains soak away.
- Exfoliating scrubs – there are a wide range of exfoliating scrubs that include sea salt as a natural way to allow your skin to feel fresh and rejuvenated.
- Acne – Minor skin ailments such as pimples and greasy skin may benefit from the use of salt products as they contain natural trace minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium.
- Throat infection – have you ever tried using salt to gargle with? Add some sea salt to a glass of warm water, dissolve, and use to soothe your sore throat. remember not to swallow the salty water though!
- Cuts and grazes – salt is excellent for cleaning cuts and grazes. So rather than reaching for a tube of antiseptic try cleaning your cuts and grazes with a warm salty solution.
What is sea salt?
Sea salt is made up of salt crystals which are left behind after sea water has evaporated from the ocean. This leaves behind sea salt crystals. So to put it another way, sea salt is composed of fine grains, or crystals, of sodium chloride.
Sea salt undergoes minimal refinement and therefore retains natural trace minerals of the water where it evaporated from. This will impact the texture, color, and taste of the salt depending on what region, or country, it was obtained from.
Sea salt should not be confused with refined table salt, which is finer and has undergone several processing stages. This can strip away the natural trace minerals. It can also involve the adding of anti-caking and anti-clumping agents to the table salt to help assist with the storage and flow of the product.
Where does sea salt come from?
Sea salt is created by the evaporation of seawater from large saltwater lakes or ocean beds which then form large deposits of salt crystals that can be harvested. Think of the refined table salt mentioned earlier but salt that has not been processed. The excess seawater has been removed leaving behind salt flakes which are generally larger than refined salt.
There are many countries around the world producing salt, with China and the USA at the top of the list.
What countries produce salt?
Salt is produced in many countries throughout the world with China, USA and India consistently ranking in the top 3.
As previously mentioned, salt can have a distinct taste depending on where in the world it has been obtained. And even within countries salt can have a unique flavor depending on what region it has been sourced from.
Fun Fact: – The top 6 salt producing countries are responsible for half of the worldwide production.
Full report at: Salt production worldwide by country 2021 | Statista
Is sea salt good for you?
Sea salt is considered a natural product as it does not go through the same processing stages as refined table salt. Sea salt contains trace minerals including iron, potassium, and zinc which are all required in a healthy diet.
Sea salt has many uses – from cooking to fermenting to applying as a natural antiseptic wash, so, hopefully we have given you a few more ideas on how to use sea salt.
Do you still want to learn more? Then why not head over to our other sections to find out more about salt, its uses, other salt products, and some quick and easy recipes?
Table of Contents
- Sea salt cooking – why use sea salt?
- Why use sea salt?
- Sea Salt recipe ideas
- What else can I use it for?
- What is sea salt?
- Where does sea salt come from?
- What countries produce salt?
- Is sea salt good for you?
- More ideas