Kosher salt or kitchen salt[1] (also called cooking salt, rock salt, kashering salt, or koshering salt) is coarse edible salt usually without common additives such as iodine,[2][3][4][5] typically used in cooking and not at the table. It consists mainly of sodium chloride and may include anticaking agents.

Comparison of table salt (left) with kosher salt (right)

Etymology edit

Coarse edible salt is a kitchen staple, but its name varies widely in various cultures and countries. The term kosher salt gained common usage in the United States and refers to its use in the Jewish religious practice of dry brining meats, known as kashering, and not to the salt itself being manufactured under any religious guidelines. Some brands further identify kosher-certified salt as being approved by a religious body.[6]

Grain of kosher salt taken at 60× magnification

Usage edit

General cooking edit

Due to the lack of metallic or off-tasting additives such as iodine, fluoride or dextrose, it is often used in the kitchen instead of additive-containing table salt.[7][8] Estimating the amount of salt when salting by hand can also be easier due to the larger grain size.[9] Some recipes specifically call for volume measurement of kosher/kitchen salt, which for some brands weighs less per measure due to its lower density and is therefore less salty than an equal volume measurement of table salt; recipes which call for a specified weight of salt are more consistent.[10] Different brands of salt vary dramatically in density; for one brand the same volume measure may contain twice as much salt (by mass) as for another brand.[11]

Brining or kashering meat edit

Kosher salt applied to chicken showing extracted moisture after one hour

The coarse-grained salt is used to create a dry brine, which increases succulence and flavor and satisfies some religious requirements, sometimes with flavor additions such as herbs, spices or sugar.[12] The meat is typically soaked in cool water and drained and then completely covered with a thin layer of salt—and then allowed to stand on a rack or board for an hour or more. The larger salt granules remain on the surface of the meat, for the most part undissolved, and absorb fluids from the meat, which are then partially reabsorbed with the salt and any added flavors, essentially brining the meat in its own juices. The salt rub is then rinsed off and discarded before cooking.[13][12]

Cleaning edit

Due to its grain size, the salt is also used as an abrasive cleaner for cookware such as cast iron skillets. Mixed with oil, it retains its abrasiveness but can be easily dissolved with water after cleaning, unlike cleansers based on pumice or calcium carbonate, which can leave a gritty residue if not thoroughly rinsed away.[14]

Manufacturing edit

Rather than cubic crystals, kosher salt has a flat plate-like shape and for some brands may also have a hollow pyramidal shape. Morton Salt produces flat kosher salt while Diamond Crystal produces pyramidal. The flat form is usually made when cubic crystals are forced into this shape under pressure, usually between rollers. The pyramidal salt crystals are generally made by an evaporative process called the Alberger process. Kosher salt is usually manufactured with a grain size larger than table salt grains. Diamond Crystal salt is made by Cargill in St. Clair, MI and Morton Salt is from Chicago, IL.[15]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Kitchen salt definition". Collins. 2018.
  2. ^ The Good housekeeping cookbook. New York: Hearst Books. 2001. pp. 15. ISBN 1588163989. OCLC 54962450.
  3. ^ Bader, Myles. (1998). The wizard of food presents 10,001 food facts, chef's secrets & household hints : more usable food facts and household hints than any single book ever published. Las Vegas, Nev.: Northstar Pub. ISBN 0964674173. OCLC 40460309.
  4. ^ Simmons, Marie (April 2008). Things cooks love (First ed.). Kansas City. pp. 67. ISBN 9780740769764. OCLC 167764416.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Morgan, Diane (2010). Gifts cooks love : recipes for giving. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Pub. pp. 14. ISBN 9780740793509. OCLC 555648047.
  6. ^ "Kosher Salt Guide". SaltWorks. 2010.
  7. ^ Iodine Nutriture in the United States: Summary of a Conference, October 31, 1970. National Academies. October 31, 1970. pp. 36–. NAP:13984.
  8. ^ World Health Organization (2011). Bulletin of the World Health Organization: Bulletin de L'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé. World Health Organization.
  9. ^ Nosrat, Samin (April 25, 2017). "The Single Most Important Ingredient". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Kaiser, Emily (February 25, 2004). "Chefs Who Salt Early if Not Often". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "The Kosher Salt Question: What Box Does What? There's a Difference". TASTE. October 11, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Benwick, Bonnie S. (November 14, 2007). "Wet Brining vs. Dry: Give That Bird a Bath". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Luban, Yaakov (2010). "Orthodox Union Kosher Primer". Orthodox Union.
  14. ^ Lewis, Hunter (January 23, 2012). "How to Clean Your Cast-Iron Skillet". Bon Appetit. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "Kosher Salt" (PDF). Salt Institute.[permanent dead link]