I made a video on the FlavCity YouTube channel all about cooking salts: which salts to use, how to use them, and most importantly, which ones to avoid. The video helped answer lots of questions, so I thought I would write this blog post to further explain how you guys should be using salt while cooking. Be sure to watch the video below!
Let’s get this out of the way now. I wanted you to avoid Iodized table salt – the stuff is toxic! I am even moving away from Morton’s kosher salt because it’s too processed. More on that below.
So, here a list of the most common cooking salts and how to use them. After this, make sure to check out my post about cooking oils to use and avoid.
Why You Should Avoid Iodized Table Salt
Table salt is highly processed and refined to the point that all of the minerals are stripped away and nothing but pure salt is left. This is bad news, friends! We need those minerals in our body as not only are they good for us, but they help our bodies process the salt better without them. Otherwise our bodies kind of freak out.
Table salt is also bleached with chemicals to remove any color leftover from the natural minerals. This salt is also loaded with anti-caking agents and fillers, so it can easily be poured from the box.
For these reasons, there is no purpose to be using table salt, not even for the iodine supplement. It’s very hard to season food with table salt because it just falls through your fingers and you end up over-salting your food, which is why I much prefer kosher salt crystals for seasoning food.
Do I Need Iodine From Salt?
Iodine was put in table salt back in the day to help with goiters and pregnant women. You are much better off getting iodine from a well balanced diet or buying iodine supplements. The table salt is so bad for you that it’s not worth consuming it for the iodine alone.
How Should I Use Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt is ideal for cooking because of the shape of the salt crystals. The crystals are like little uniform squares, and are very easy to pinch between your fingers. This is very important when seasoning food and cooking because you can really feel the amount of salt that you are pinching over the food.
Kosher salt is also easy to see unlike table salt, so you are much less likely to over-salt your food. The salt itself is not kosher, rather it is used for the koshering process of draining blood from animals.
The only thing I don’t like about refined kosher salt is that it is highly processed and bleached, just like table salt. For this reason, I am no longer using Morton’s or Diamond Crystal salt, and have moved on to using unrefined kosher salt. There is a company from Utah called Redmond Real Salt. It’s pure salt with a fantastic flavor and they carry both fine sea salt and kosher salt.
How Do I Use Sea Salt?
Sea salt is generally used as a finishing salt at the end of the cooking process. That’s because it tends to be more expensive, and you don’t want to waste it by using it during the cooking process. You can think of high quality sea salts like extra virgin olive oil, a little sprinkle over sliced steak, cooked fish, or on top of tomatoes can add big time flavors and even a pop of texture.
I also like to finish with Himalayan pink salt, which is the most pure form of salt in the world. You can get pink salt pretty cheap these days, especially at Costco. So, feel free to cook with it, but be careful not to over-salt your food if using the fine grain salt.
That’s it! I hope I cleared up some of the questions you may have had about cooking salts. I am a big fan of seasoning my food aggressively. I find that most home cooks are afraid of salt, but when you buy fresh ingredients that are unprocessed, they need some love! Premade and processed foods have way more salt than you can ever use. Plus they are using the bad quality table salt, not the good stuff that you will be using from now on.
Make sure to check out my favorite recipes that rely on salt as the primary seasoning: