From common table salt to crunchy finishing salt, here is a list of different salt varieties that every cook should know. Experiment with salts and be enlighten by the wonderful flavors and textures that can truly enhance a dish.
Table salt is the most common salt found in American kitchens. This kind of salt usually comes from salt mines and is later refined into pure sodium chloride. Table salt comes in two varieties, plain or iodize. Iodized means the sodium chloride is sprayed with iodine after it has been refined. Table salt is smaller in size and melts quickly, making it a perfect salt for “the table”. However, this salt is more bland and bitter, making it not ideal for cooking with.
Kosher salt is also very common among home cooks and professional chefs. This salt has a larger grain than table salt but is still the chemical compound sodium chloride. The name kosher salt actually comes from the process of making raw meat kosher by removing the surface blood, not from it actually being certified as Kosher (even though some salt is). This is a great salt to use when cooking and seasoning dishes.
Grinder salt is the type of salt used in salt mills. This salt is very large in size and has less moisture. The limited amount of moisture allows the salt to be ground easier and flow smoothly out of the mill. If your salt mill is made of steel or even stainless steel, be sure to check it regularly for rust and deterioration, as salt can accelerate this process.
Flake salt comes from evaporated seawater (flake sea salt). Flake salt is very light in texture but can range in size, from large to paper thin. Flake salt should be used sparingly because of its intense salt flavor.
Finishing salt is known and loved for its unique texture and flavor. This salt has a strong crunch but dissolves quickly, making it perfect for finishing a dish. Fleur de sel is the creme de la creme of finishing salts.