What is the Difference Between Table Salt and Course Salt?
Many recipes are now calling for course salt in lieu of regular table salt. But if specified, can you substitute your table salt instead? And what is the difference between table salt and course salt?
Did you know that our bodies need salt and we cannot live without this mineral? Salt in its pure form is healthy and necessary, but table salt is the “manufactured” product of natural rock salt.
What is Table Salt?
Regular table salt is the finer ground of the salts and is most commonly used in cooking and baking. You will find table salt in most salt shakers and salt packets. Table salt has been refined and all of the minerals have been removed.
Most of us would find table salt easy to recognize and overly familiar because of the rounded blue Morton salt containers in the grocery store. If you can sprinkle it out of a salt shaker then that’s a good indication it’s basic table salt.
But what do we use when the recipe calls for “course” salt? Course salt is salt that has not been ground down into a finer table salt therefore making it thicker particles of salt.
Use Kosher Salt
Kosher salt isn’t necessarily a “coarse” salt, but it is one of the best salts you can choose when buying a course salt. Nothing is added to this salt like anti-clumping agents and it has not been heavily processed, making it a wiser choice for cooking. Kosher salt has a bigger grain size than regular table salt making it a perfect choice when “course” salt is on the ingredient list.
One of the benefits to cooking and seasoning with coarse Kosher salt is being able to feel the salt crystals with your finger tips. When sprinkling salt over vegetables or meats, you can actually measure by sight. Just grab some salt between your fingers and lightly season.
A courser salt will of course stick to meat better and not melt away like sprinkles of table salt.
Can you substitute table salt for a course salt?
Since table salt is really just a denser salt, you can substitute if necessary. Just use smaller amounts of table salt when a recipe calls for course salt.
A full teaspoon of table salt would be a lot of salt sprinkled on a plate of steamed asparagus. But a teaspoon of Kosher or “course” salt would probably be perfect.
Sea Salt vs. Table Salt. What’s the Difference?
Sea salt comes from, you guessed it, the sea. It’s produced by evaporating water from the ocean or saltwater lakes. Processing is minimal, if any, because its all natural. If organic and natural is your thing, then sea salt is your best bet.
Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from underground, and additives help prevent clumping. Unlike sea salt, table salt is heavily processed and contains additional (manufactured) iodine, which supports a healthy thyroid.
Nevertheless, gram for gram, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium. The trick is how you use the salt in the cooking process to maximize flavor.
As Salty as the Sea
For example, one way to add flavor to your food without overdoing your sodium intake is to season your dish throughout the cooking process. It may look like a lot, but when the meal arrives to the table, no one will be reaching for the salt and pepper shaker. Pasta water should taste as salty as the sea. You’ll enhance the flavor of everyone’s favorite carbohydrate.
What about Kosher Salt?
You can easily distinguish Kosher salt from regular table salt by it’s classic snowflake-like appearance. It’s a compacted form of cubic salt crystals that come from either the sea or underground mines. It’s terrific for seasoning meat because the larger surface are of the salt allows for the protein to retain more moisture.
Put Down the Salt Shaker
Did you know that salt can become addicting? Just like fatty foods can be addictive to some people, so can salt.
If you’re worried about your family’s sodium intake — the goal is less than 2,300 milligrams/day — then consider retiring your shaker of salt and replacing it with a fun selection herbs and spices. No calories, lots of flavor, and no concerns about sodium. Have fun and experiment with pepper, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Add a dash of cilantro or zest a lemon. You’ll amazed how your taste buds will tingle, and you won’ even miss the salt. Go to your grocery’s bulk section to get the freshest dried goods without having to invest in a full container.
Healthy Salt Options –
- Sea salts
- Himalayan salts