Sea, kosher, iodized? What salt should I use?

Posted: June 30, 2010

I frequently get the question: Is sea or kosher salt better? The answer depends on how/why you use salt.

We are most familiar with table salt. Table salt is mined from underground deposits and then mined to contain 99.9% of sodium and chloride. It has a very fine texture and dissolves quickly, making this a great salt for baking. Most manufacturers started adding iodine to table salt to help prevent iodine deficiencies. Today, most table salt is iodized.

Both kosher and sea salts have large, irregular shaped grains. Both are unrefined and come from sea or ocean water. Kosher, or rock salt, does not contain any added minerals or preservatives. It is made up of sodium and chloride. The large granules helps to draw moisture out of meats and is used in curing meats. It is also used in cooking.

Sea salt is primarily made up of sodium and chloride though does contain tiny amounts of iron, sulfur, magnesium, and other trace elements. Sea salt is used in cooking and also for flavoring food at the dinner table in place of table salt.

Choice of salt may depend on what type of food and preparation you are planning as well as personal preference.

Which salt is better for my blood pressure?

All three salts contain the same amount of sodium by weight, which is about 375mg per gram. Though, kosher and sea salts usually contain less sodium by volume. This is due to their larger more coarse granules compared with the fine texture of table salt. For example, a teaspoon of table, sea, or kosher salts have different weights. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs the least amount, then sea salt, and table salt weighs the most.

So gram for gram, all three salts contain the same amount of sodium. But when using teaspoons kosher only contains about half the amount of sodium as compared with table salt. Though when a teaspoon of kosher salt is used the result of the food is a taste that is much less "salty" and therefore some people end up adding more to get the taste they like. In this case you can end up with the same amount of sodium or even more than table salt.

All three salts contain sodium and may affect your health and blood pressure. Check with your doctor regarding how much sodium you should be consuming on a daily basis.