I’m giving up salt. Not the way you think; I’m giving up the salt that I grew up with. Table salt. Salt that’s all washed and scrubbed and ground down to a nice, uniform, boring size, with anti-caking agents added to make it pour when it rains.
I recently discovered course-ground gourmet sea salt — I mean really nice big chunks — and I’m hooked. I can’t go back to regular old salt. Yes, I know, it’s “just salt,” right? Boring ol’ sodium. Some will point out that salt tastes like salt no matter what kind of fancy label you put on it, which technically is absolutely true. However, salt that is all chunky DOES taste better than standard table salt, and is even better for you than table salt.
With fine-ground salt, it’s easy to just make a coating of uniform saltiness. Yuck! A constant barrage of any flavor deadens the sense of taste. Your mouth needs a break. Take a lesson from the people who put sea salt on chocolate (if anyone knows how to tickle taste buds, it’s chocolatiers)…it’s way better when it’s not a constant barrage of saltiness, but rather a sometime thing. A coarse grind allows for a wide, uneven distribution of grains, which allows your tongue be constantly surprised by a fresh new burst of saltiness — and salt enhances flavor when it’s not drowning the food.
Now for the course-ground sea salt. The relatively-pricey, I-can’t-believe-I’m-paying-this-much-for salt, salt. The stuff that’s in see-through containers because they want you to see it. Why? Because it is gorgeous and sexy, that’s why. The crystals are huge, which provides a snappy, salty crunch when sprinkled on your dinner. And the crystals are pink, beige, and coral, not just white . This color means the salt is scooped up from the seabed loaded with all the other important minerals that were in the seawater, stuck in a jar, and shipped to you.
Ok, so there’s something interesting about the texture, fine. How’s it better for me?
The label on my generic salt says these are the ingredients:
Salt, calcium silicate, dextrose (!!), and potassium iodide.
So, not “just salt.” In 1 pound of table salt you are also paying for a certain amount of anti-caking agent (the silicate) and the insanely cheap food additive, sugar (dextrose, which is another name for glucose). The food industry says it’s a stabilizing agent for the potassium iodide that’s added, but it sure as heck changes the taste, not to mention the damage sugar does to the body. I’ll eat seaweed or drink some milk to get my iodine rather than take a ‘supplement’ with sugar. Yes, I’m militant.
(Please note that iodine is a necessary nutrient for breast health; women should be sure to get their iodine somewhere, if not in their salt.) Moving on…
Here’s the label for my salt:
So far so good. There’s also a little chart on the back that has a listing of all those marvelous trace minerals hanging around with the salt:
Sodium Chloride 98.32 % Calcium .40% Potassium .12% Sulfur .11% Magnesium .10% Iron .06% Phosphorous .05% Iodine .002% Manganese .0015% Copper .001% Zinc .0006%
Not just salty-tasting, but nutritious. I sprinkle it on almond butter. Oh yum!