Kosher salt

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Comparison of table salt with kosher salt.

Kosher salt or kitchen salt[1] is coarse edible salt without common additives such as iodine. Used in cooking and not at the table, it consists mainly of sodium chloride and may include anticaking agents.

Etymology[edit]

Coarse edible salt is a kitchen staple, but its name varies widely in various cultures and countries world-wide. The term Kosher salt gained common usage in North America and refers to its use in the Jewish religious practice of dry brining meats—known as koshering or kashering—as opposed to the salt itself being manufactured under religious guidelines. Some brands further identify kosher-certified salt as being approved by a religious body.[2]

Grain of kosher salt taken at 60× magnification

Coarse edible salt is also known as cooking salt, flake salt, rock salt, koshering salt, and kashering salt in addition to kitchen salt.

Usage[edit]

General cooking[edit]

Because the salt has a purer flavor due to the lack of metallic or bitter tasting additives such as iodine, fluoride or dextrose, it is often used in the kitchen instead of additive-containing table salt so such flavors are not introduced to prepared food. Estimating the amount of salt when salting by hand can also be easier due to the larger grain size.[3] Some recipes specifically call for volume measurement of Kosher/kitchen salt which weighs less per measure due to its lower density, and is therefore less salty than an equal volume measurement of table salt.[4]

Brining / 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[5]. The meat is typically soaked in cool water, drained, 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.[6][5]

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 pumice or calcium carbonate based cleansers which can leave a gritty residue if not thoroughly rinsed away.[7]

Manufacturing[edit]

Rather than cubic crystals, kosher salt has a flat plate-like shape and may also have a hollow pyramidal shape. 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. This salt is usually manufactured with a grain size larger than table salt grains.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kitchen salt definition". Collins. 2018.
  2. ^ "Kosher Salt Guide". SaltWorks. 2010.
  3. ^ Nosrat, Samin (April 25, 2017). "The Single Most Important Ingredient". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  4. ^ Kaiser, Emily (February 25, 2004). "Chefs Who Salt Early if Not Often". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  5. ^ a b Benwick, Bonnie S. (November 14, 2007). "Wet Brining vs. Dry: Give That Bird a Bath". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  6. ^ Luban, Yaakov (2010). "Orthodox Union Kosher Primer". Orthodox Union.
  7. ^ Lewis, Hunter (January 23, 2012). "How to Clean Your Cast-Iron Skillet". Bon Appetit. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  8. ^ "Kosher Salt" (PDF). Salt Institute.[permanent dead link]