You have heard that kosher sea salt is different from regular table salt, but are you sure that kosher salt even has a "recipe" of its own? Many people mistakenly believe that kosher salt has its own seasoning formula. While kosher salt does indeed contain salt crystals that have been kosher for years, this salt does not have its own specially prepared recipe. So what's the secret to kosher salt dishes?
One thing that adds to the flavour of kosher salt is iodine. Iodine is not only added to the salt in order to keep it from sticking to the food it is baking, but also because it has the ability to lower the concentration of salt in a dish. Table salt typically contains 80 percent sodium chloride and the rest are made up of various minerals and flavours. With kosher salt, however, iodine is replaced with sodium bicarbonate, which lowers the concentration of salt in the mixture. Is kosher salt iodized?
No! However, using kosher salt as a substitute for table salt is becoming more common because of its other benefits and its lower concentration of additives compared to regular table salt. Most manufacturers recognize that kosher salt contains an essential nutrient known as "niocyanate." This nutrient helps to prevent corrosion of stainless steel cookware, particularly if you are using a pan with a non-stick coating. Therefore, they often add less salt, in order to reduce the concentration of "niocyanate."
This, however, masks the true flavour of kosher salt, which often has a salty taste. It's like cooking porridge with sugar or honey you really don't want it on your food. Unfortunately, manufacturers don't realize that adding a small amount of salt (and making sure it's organic) makes the food taste better. The problem with regular table salt is that it tends to absorb the moisture in your mouth and therefore leaves a wet aftertaste. While we're talking about aftertaste, you might also notice that regular table salts have a very strong odour.
One of the most common kosher salt uses is for cooking. Kosher salt cooks better than regular table salt, especially when it's mixed with baking soda and added to marinades or soups. In fact, it's one of the most popular ingredients for barbecue recipes. As far as the actual cooking of the food, the main benefit of kosher salt is that it helps to release the moisture in cooked meats and vegetables a moisture release process called capillary action. This allows the nutrients to be better absorbed by the food.
But kosher salt is not suitable for all applications. Its benefit in cooking means that it should be used with caution in a number of different settings, including salad and soup preparation, salting meat and fish, preparing white beans, and broiling. As it turns out, kosher salt can also be quite harsh. Its ability to absorb moisture makes it a poor choice for use on the skin or surface of fruits or vegetables. As a side note, this same quality can cause a chemical change in canned products if used to replace table salt, and its effect on canned fruits is also undesirable.
Most people think that kosher salt causes an iodine taste in the mouth. While the salt does have a slightly salty taste on the palate, this taste isn't present during the tasting portion of the test, so it's really a matter of opinion. Most people do agree that kosher salt does have a somewhat metallic taste, which is most noticeable if the taste is taken after the salt has been placed on a piece of raw egg, or if it's mixed into salty foods like Brussels sprouts.
There's no question that kosher sea salt can be beneficial in many aspects of your cooking. It provides a level of safety in preparing food that you just don't get with regular table salt, and its use helps ensure that your dishes will taste better for longer, as it maintains better chemical properties that help enhance the flavour of food. However, it's important to use kosher salt or table salt as a guide when creating your own unique cooking recipes, so that you don't end up with a dish that has exactly the same results as the recipe that came with your box of packet salt. You may find that you come up with a new and tasty spin on an old favourite, or that you come up with an entirely new and unique way to prepare a dish that your friends and family will surely love!