No spice rack is complete without salt. In fact, it's the most used spice in the world, highlighting and enhancing the flavor of virtually all foods. Salt doesn't need to be used just for cooking, either! It can be used for spa treatments and creating various skincare products. But with so many different kinds, it’s important to know what features to look for when purchasing salt.
You'll need to find out where it’s from, how it's used, and what people have said about it. We've done all the hard research and picked the San Francisco Salt Company's Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt as our number one. It can be used in multiple ways, is packed with trace nutrients, and tastes great. Take a look below for more!
Here is our curated list of the top 10 best salts. We've chosen based on the variety and usability of the salt, and after scouring through reviews.
|Type||Fleur de sel|
|Origin||France, Portugal, Hawaii, Guatemala, or Spain|
|Grind size||Very fine; flake-type|
2-Pack, 1.62 lb.
|Origin||US, Canada, or Bahamas|
|Type||Table salt (processed)|
|Type||Fleur de sel|
|Grind size||Fine (but more coarse than table salt)|
|Grind size||Not provided (finishing salt)|
San Francisco Salt Company
San Francisco Salt Company
The Spice Lab
Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt
Fleur de Sel
Celtic Sea Salt
Sea Salt Flakes
Sea Salt with Grinder
Pink Himalayan Salt
Fleur de Sel de Guerande Sea Salt
Black Truffle Salt
Enhance the Flavor of Your Dishes With This Salt
A Classic Salt for Gifting to a Loved One
Certified Kosher Salt That Supports Sustainable Farming
Textural and Clean Sea Salt Harvested in Maldon
Enjoy Freshly Ground Salt From a Trusted Brand
Hand-Mined Himalayan Salt With a Beautiful Hue
A Classic American Staple and Icon
Pink-Hued Fleur de Sel That Can Be Used to Garnish Dishes
Salt and Truffles Combine to Make a Flavorful Impact
A Naturally White, Mediterranean Salt from France
|Origin||Himalayan region||France||France, Portugal, Hawaii, Guatemala, or Spain||UK||US||Himalayan region||US, Canada, or Bahamas||France||Italy||France|
|Type||Himalayan Pink||Fleur de sel||Sea salt||Sea salt||Sea salt||Himalayan||Table salt (processed)||Fleur de sel||Truffle salt||Sea salt|
|Grind size||Extra-fine||Fine||Fine||Very fine; flake-type||Adjustable||Coarse||Fine||Fine (but more coarse than table salt)||Not provided (finishing salt)||Coarse|
Salt is more than just salt. It can be made with different flavors, textures, and harvested all across the world. A good chef knows what to do with each kind. This versatile spice isn't confined to just cooking, either!
Salt can divided into two broad overarching categories: sea salt and rock salt. We'll go over the differences between the two here.
Sea salt comes from evaporation of seawater. Oftentimes, it’s created by drying it in the sun, then boiling it down to make salt. Salt that’s produced this way has more minerals in it than rock salt depending on the color and where it's been developed. Minerals that can be found in sea salt include potassium, iron, and zinc.
On the flip side, because it is sourced from seawater, it can also contain trace amounts of impurities - the result of pollution of the oceans. Current levels are reported at being safe for consumption. Sea salts are more coarse in texture than rock salts, creating a crunch, or different mouthfeel for enhancing dishes.
Fleur de Sel is an example of a particular seasalt that's been sourced from France. There are also varieties such as Hawaiian, French sea salt, and flake salt. Sea salts are also most commonly used for bath salts and spa treatments.
A long time ago, inland seas flowed freely throughout the world. The sun beat down on these inland seas during dry spells in our geological history. The water eventually evaporated, salt crystallized, and that's how salt deposits were formed. Now, we mine these salt crystals and heat them to extract rock salt.
Since rock salt has built up over many years, it naturally contains more sodium than sea salt, producing a saltier flavor. The particular tasting notes and color of each rock salt, however, depend on where it was mined. For example, in iron-rich areas, the salt has a light blush.
The most famous gourmet rock salt you'll find is Himalayan pink salt, which derives its color from trace minerals found in the crystals. It's highly prized for its beautiful pink tint. Other salts that are mined include Indian black salt and table salt.
Under rock salt and sea salt, there are a further 15 different categories of salts used for different purposes when cooking. Take a look at the link for more specific information if you want to know more about the world of salt!
Production method also determines the kind of salt you end up with. There are three general categories here: solar, hydraulic, and mining.
The differences in the resulting salt is actually quite minimal, but trace nutrients can be found more in some varieties than others depending on the production method. Also, if you're thinking about going environmentally-friendly, want to support local businesses, or have ethical concerns, then looking at how your salt is made is important.
Since there’s no extra heat added to it, you don’t lose any minerals like sodium chloride, calcium, or magnesium. So, out of the three, this one will have the most naturally formed nutrients. However, because we have introduced pollution to the seas, be aware that there can also be traces of toxins. The sun-dried method is associated with sea salts, including Fleur de Sel.
This method involves pumping water into a salt deposit, creating a brine that is once again pumped to the surface to be processed in a factory. It is then heated up to dissolve the liquids. This process causes the salt to lose a lot of its beneficial minerals and leaves it bitter-tasting. The bitterness is offset, however, by adding nutrients back into it.
On a basic level, manufacturers make processed salt because it looks whiter. And to a consumer, whiter means purer. But there’s another reason: if the salt was harvested from a polluted area, they need to bake the toxins out of the salt–and the minerals are taken as collateral. So refined salt doesn’t just look cleaner; it actually is cleaner.
Table salt is commonly made through the hydraulic method. However, in the case of table salt, it is more heavily processed and nutrients are not always added back in, although additives may be put in to prevent the granules from sticking together. For this reason, table salt has the lowest nutritional value of all salt varieties.
Mined salts are classified as rock salts. They are often extracted by dynamite or by drilling into the earth, then bringing the resulting rock deposits to the surface. Once there, the deposits are crushed, transported, then refined in a factory.
Mining for salt can have a lot of negative effects on the environment, though. Toxic compounds can be released into the air when drilling into the Earth's crust and tons of machinery is used. Since rock salts are often extracted by this method, make sure to do some research into the exact ways that the company is trying to leave a smaller ecological footprint if you're considering buying eco-friendly.
Salt isn't just used as a flavoring when cooking - it can be used to garnish, preserve, or otherwise prevent discoloration in fresh food items. We'll go over some other uses of salt here.
Want to pickle or ferment your vegetables or just get rid of any unneeded liquid? Use salt. This will help your cucumbers stay crisper for longer.
Salt takes water out of your vegetables through the process of osmosis. In simple terms, nature wants a balance of salt to water in the environment. To balance the amount of water in your vegetable and the surrounding salt, water will leave your vegetables so that there is an equal ratio of water to salt outside of the membrane of the vegetable and inside of it.
This is the first step followed for pickling or fermenting food to keep the texture of the vegetable relatively intact. You'll want to avoid table salt here - use sea salt or kosher salt.
In oxidation, the addition of oxygen strips away electrons from a molecule. This destabilizes the molecule, allowing it to combine with other molecules. In fruit - it causes an unappetizing brown color. Though this method works in keeping food looking fresh, it does impart a slightly salty flavor. You can use kosher salt here.
This is a less common use of salt nowadays, since we now have refrigerators. You can also just go out and buy premade jerkies if you crave preserved meat. But, if ever in a survival situation, or if you go camping and forget to bring a cooler, then salt is a useful tool.
Salt takes out moisture from meat or fish to create a dried product. It also keeps away unwanted bacteria. Table salt is good for this purpose.
Salt is no longer just salt. It's now prized for its texture and visual appeal just as much as its taste and ability to enhance the natural flavor of foods.
Depending on how you plan to use the salt, you'll want to pay attention to the size of the crystals you buy. Fine grinds are able to blend into and mix well into soups, batters, and other dishes-you generally won't be able to see the grains after using it. However, some fine salt grains, such as fleur de sel add light, crunchy texture to dishes as a finishing salt.
Coarse salts can also add texture, but you will need a grinder to break up the chunks into smaller pieces. Then there's Himalayan salt, prized for its pink hue. It has both texture and aesthetics and can come in both coarse and fine varieties. Before picking a salt, you'll want to make sure of which kind of grind you want to get the right effect in your food!
Want to pamper yourself? Use unrefined, natural salt. You can add some in your bath to promote blood flow, increase metabolism, and relax your muscles. It’ll also soften keratin and remove dirt. Just soak yourself in some bath salted water, massage any rough patches, and come out with soft, glowing skin. You can also make your own salt scrubs to exfoliate your skin with!
If you do plan on buying salt for spa treatments, note that salt can be rough, so go for finer grains. Don’t scrub yourself with it, and keep pamper days to once a week.
The world of condiments, spices, and herbs is a vast one. Besides salt, there are so many other flavorings you can use to enhance your dishes.
Salt is an ingredient that is essential to all food dishes, and can even have benefits in the spa. There are so many varieties, colors, origins, and production methods that it can get confusing to pick the right kind when you want to go for something gourmet or something that will be good for skin.
When purchasing, make sure you know what you want to use the salt for, what grind size you want, and what variety of salt you want! Don't forget about texture and visuals, too! We hope our buying guide is of help to you when you're choosing your next salt.
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