All natural salts are sea salts whether they are mined or have been harvested from sea beds. While some salts have a bit of natural color, generally caused by the presence of some other chemical (normally a sulfide), most natural salts consist consist of white or near-white salt crystals. Some producers may infuse the salt with other chemicals to change the color profile or taste. While salts generally contain the same chemical and nutritional benefits, the taste and texture of both sea and mined salt can vary significantly.
Found below and in the sidebars is some useful information regarding cooking and finishing salts in general and, more specifically, sea salt. An informed consumer is always the best remedy to deal with conflicting information about salt. We hope that the following information will prove helpful when making your purchasing decision.
The Importance of Sea Salt In History
According to contributions provided to Wikipedia, “Sea salt is mentioned in the Vinaya Pitaka, a Buddhist scripture compiled in the mid-5th century BC. The principle of production is evaporation of the water from the sea brine In warm and dry climates this may be accomplished entirely by using solar energy, but in other climates fuel sources have been used. Modern sea salt production is almost entirely found in Mediterranean and other warm, dry climates..”
What is the Difference between Table Salt and Finishing Salts?
There are hundreds of varieties of salts, but basically only three major salt categories: Table salts, Sea Salts and Kosher salt. Table salts are commonly used in cooking and to season food. For the most part, these commercially-processed salts have had most of the other minerals removed and in the United States have been iodized (addition of iodine) to prevent thyroid disease.
Gourmet Living is proud to introduce a selection Mediterranean sea salts from the island of Cyprus. These are finishing salts – not cooking salts – and are added to foods as they are being served to provide a lift in both taste and color. These sea salts will be available shortly on Amazon.
Sea Salt and Nutrition
While many consumers are cutting back on salt, few seem to be aware that processed-foods account for roughly 75 % of the average American’s daily salt intake. Eat fresh produce and you are unlikely to exceed the recommended salt consumption guidelines of 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of table salt) determined by the FDA. Found below is a commentary from the FDA on salt consumption:
The natural salt in food accounts for about 10 percent of total intake, on average, according to the guidelines. The salt we add at the table or while cooking adds another 5 to 10 percent. About 75 percent of our total salt intake comes from salt added to processed foods by manufacturers and salt that cooks add to foods at restaurants and other food service establishments.
While many feel that it is important to lower the intake of sodium, other studies suggest that salt is good for the digestive system and stimulates muscle contraction. Furthermore, salt deficiency can cause the body to perspire heavily and may even lead to dehydration. Some will argue that sodium deficiency can lead to shock if the blood pressure is decreased too severely. Salt is important to good nutritional status.
Gourmet Living recommends consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and non-processed foods. A moderate amount of salt seems to have important beneficial health consequences and it certainly makes the food taste better.