Available in stores and online and more often than not produced in a lab, kosher salt is a must-have this season to add variety to your diet and spice up any celebration that you might be attending. Kosher salt comes in many different variations are kosher salt shakers, kosher salt plates, kosher salt crackers, and kosher salt bread. Though commonly referred to as kosher salt, really the first name is shortened from kosher salt and in there lays the key to what it actually is. This kind of salt historically was used in the kosher ceremony of removing salt from the meat, according to Jewish dietary regulations, and therefore the name stuck.
Kosher salt is used mainly for its texture. It has a coarse and salty texture. For cooking purposes, it is best pre-washed and then stored in an air-tight container, which will help retain its crunch and retain its great flavor. Because of its texture kosher salt is often called rock salt or Miami salt. The reason for this is because when it was first discovered the salt had been sourced from ancient monasteries that had previously existed in Jerusalem. The monasteries had been producing their own salt by soaking rocks in the water and filtering it through fire.
Now kosher salt is available in various forms such as kosher salt flakes, kosher sea salt, and regular table salt. The only difference is the molecular structure, which makes regular table salt different. Kosher salt is made from the minerals of the sea and that is why it has a great salty flavor. However, it is also the strongest of all the salts making it ideal for use in anything from sprinkling for foods to use in place of regular table salt on meats to preserving meats for later use.
There are a few other differences that one should be aware of when comparing kosher salt to regular table salt. One of those differences is the main difference in processing. In the normal course of the kosher salt manufacturing process, the salt is ground and then compressed to make it suitable for use as table salt.
The main difference in kosher salt production is the way the salt is processed. During the grinding stage, the minerals in the salt are separated from the rock salt, this is done so that there is no longer any metallic debris left in the salt. After the salt is squeezed, it is cooked at high temperatures in order to remove any moisture that may have remained in the mineral structure of the salt. Once this is done the salt is sent to the curing department where it undergoes what is known as the "heating" procedure, this is to make sure that the salt has gone from raw to goo and to ensure the crystal structure is still intact. After this, the salt goes through what is known as the "refining" procedure where the salt is further compressed and cleaned before it is ready for use.
So, when considering whether to use kosher salt or regular salt when cooking you should keep in mind that these products are not of equal quality. There is a significant difference between the two and using the wrong one could have serious consequences for your kitchen. While sea salt is fine for most cooking tasks, it is better to use table salt, which is made with a higher concentration of minerals that will help to retain more of the vitamins and trace minerals that we all need to maintain good health.
In contrast, kosher salt does not have a lot of the beneficial qualities to retain. The main quality that differentiates it from regular salt is that the crystals do not come in clusters. Instead, they form thin lines in a salt crystal, this makes it difficult for cooks to determine if they are dealing with natural crystalline salt or a synthetic product. Because of this feature kosher salt is particularly suited to be used in cooking processes where it is needed to take out any excess moisture from foods or is needed to add flavor. In short, it can be used for any cooking process where it would not normally be used.
It is also important to point out that even though kosher salt has its own set of benefits it also has its share of limitations. Like any mineral body, the salt will lose most of its minerals as it begins to break down. However, this is a natural process that all table salt experiences and in no way represent the quality of organic compounds that may be lost during the refining process. This is why most kosher salt is often used in conjunction with table salt.