What’s the difference between kosher salt, iodized salt and sea salt? When should I use them?

Kosher salt is a coarse grain, additive free salt.  When you look at the grains they resemble little rectangles. This allows the salt to adhere to whatever it is added. Kosher salt has a cleaner, pure salt taste and chefs like it because the coarser texture allows you to control the salting process better, you’ll also have less of a propensity to over salt. You use kosher salt in the same manner as iodized salt, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, you use 1 teaspoon. Kosher salt is the only salt I use for cooking and baking (although some bakers would argue this point). Iodized or Table salt is a fine grained salt to which iodine, dextrose and calcium silicate are added to stabilize the iodine and keep the salt free flowing.  When you look at the grains they are round allowing the salt to roll off the food which can cause over salting. Iodized salt is not pure salt and many times you are really tasting iodine. Iodine was added to table salt in the 1920’s because of an epidemic of goiter due to a lack of iodine in our diets. Even though this is no longer the case, salt companies continue to add iodine to salt because the consumer has grown accustomed to the flavor. Sea salt is made from evaporated sea water. Sea salts contain various minerals and the types and amounts of them vary depending on where the salt originated.  These mineral combinations impart each sea salt with distinctive taste properties. For example, sea salt from Brittany, France will taste completely difference than sea salt from Hawaii. Sea salts are not meant to be used in the cooking process. They are strictly for garnishing purposes only. Cooking or baking with sea salt only breaks down the nuances of the salt and you lose the flavor in the end. So, save your sea salt and use it as a garnish to your finished food.

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