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Fascinating Facts on Salt
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For centuries both cooks and physicians have realized that salt is not only an essential component to good health but makes food more palatable, bringing out the essential flavor of a dish (even a sweet one) in a way no other ingredient on earth possibly can.

Today salt is inexpensive and universally available, but that wasn't always the case. Because of its importance in food preservation and the fact that the human body requires it (for the regulation of fluid balance), salt has been an extremely valuable commodity throughout the ages. It was even once used as a method of exchange — Roman soldiers received a salt allowance as part of their pay. Salt was valued by the ancient Hebrews and Greeks, throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 19th century when it began to become more plentiful and therefore reasonable in price. Salt (sodium chloride) comes either from salt mines or from the sea. Most of today's salt is mined and comes from large deposits left by dried salt lakes throughout the world.

Types of Salt

  • Table Salt: A fine-grained refined salt with additives that make it free-flowing, is mainly used in cooking and as a table condiment. It's what most of us grew up on.
  • Iodized Salt: Is table salt with added iodine (sodium iodide) — particularly important in areas that lack natural iodine.
  • Kosher Salt: Is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. It's used by some Jews in the preparation of meat, as well as by gourmet cooks and chefs who prefer its texture and flavor. Also called "coarse salt".
  • Sea Salt: Is the type used down through the ages and is the result of the evaporation of seawater — the more costly of the two processes. It comes in fine-grained or larger crystals.
  • Pickling Salt: Is a fine-grained salt used to make brines for pickles, sauerkraut, etc. It contains no additives, which would cloud the brine.
  • Rock Salt: Has a grayish cast because it's not as refined as other salts, which means it retains more minerals and harmless impurities. It comes in chunky crystals and is used predominantly by combining with ice to make ice cream in crank-style ice-cream makers. It is not recommended for cooking and table use.
  • Sour Salt: Also called citric salt, is extracted from acidic fruits, such as lemons and limes. It's used to add tartness to traditional dishes like Borscht.
  • Seasoned Salt: Is regular salt combined with other flavoring ingredients, examples being onion salt, garlic salt and celery salt.
  • Salt Substitutes: Frequently used by those on low-salt diets, are products containing little or no sodium.
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September 25, 2017

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