When it comes to kosher salt, you either love it or hate it. Most consumers don’t pay attention to the issue because many kosher grocery stores offer a wide variety of kosher-certified salts in their salt section. And shoppers often assume they are automatically kosher. After all, ” kosher salt” is the generic name used to refer to any and all kosher salt products, whether produced in a lab or not. However, ” kosher salt” is not the only important distinction among kosher salt, and not everyone is aware of the facts.
In truth, the type of salt used for kosher cooking is not the same as your average table salt. Sea salt is produced by evaporating seawater and has no additives added. Manufacturers sprinkle kosher salt liberally on pretzels and chips and often add a bright, natural color claim to their labels. And yes, paying more for kosher salt than coarse salt isn’t necessarily un kosher, as long as you know what you’re purchasing.
Most people think kosher salt consists of unbleached deposits of magnesium, calcium and potassium that have been enhanced by adding iodine. Iodine is added because of its purported health benefits, but most trace elements can be replaced without adding iodine. Similarly, there are trace mineral substances in commercially produced kosher salt that can also be replaced without a special ingredient: potassium and sodium can be substituted with other elements.
Most of the salt used in kosher cooking comes from the Dead Sea, which is located in Israel. It is known for high mineral content and salt’s ability to absorb moisture and minerals from the air. The brine used in kosher salt also contains iodine, as does the fat in the liquid that brines are made of.
During the initial process of kosher salt plying, it is saturated with a chlorine-based solution that makes it salty and removes any excess moisture. This solution is what forms the brine. After that, the meat is allowed to sit in this brine solution for about three days, during which time the meat will soak up everything that’s in there from dead sea salts, minerals and bacteria. After this, the meat is ready for kosher salt pitting or “shooting” – the process of removing all or part of the fat, which is then rubbed off the surface of the meat to prepare it for baking in a traditional oven. After this, it goes through a second round of treatment to seal in the salt and prevent the growth of mold or any other harmful organisms.
Kosher salts are definitely better for you in many ways than regular table salt or even “ultra-salt.” For one thing, kosher salt doesn’t contain any additives, colorants, preservatives or artificial ingredients. Also, it contains much less sodium than regular table salt substitutes, which means it’s healthier for you. You’ll also benefit from the fact that kosher salts are more easily absorbed by your body than regular salts because it’s naturally salted.
For years, kosher salt has been labeled as “artificial” because it lacks the iodine and other minerals that are typically found in regular table salt. Over the past few years however, many companies have started to use the “iodized” label to describe kosher salt. Iodized salt is salts that have been treated with iodine, a key element for good health in ancient times. Kosher salt with a “certified” stamp is recognized by the FDA as having the same benefits of regular table salt – it’s just less harmful to your body.
The best way to avoid iodine deficiency (Iodine is necessary for human life) is to purchase kosher salt that has been specifically labeled “iodized”. This not only ensures that you’re getting the benefits of the kosher salt, but you’ll be getting a healthier product as well. Iodized salts are also much more expensive than regular table salts, but you’ll pay a price for better health. Iodized salts can also be used in many traditional cooking styles, whereas non-iodized canning salt won’t.