Kosher salt is coarse kosher sea salts with no common additives like iodine. Used mostly in the kitchen and not on the table, it usually consists of potassium chloride and can contain other anti-caking substances. It was first used by the Jews of ancient times as a table salt. Its use as cooking salt dates back to biblical times. According to Jewish dietary laws, kosher salt is salt that has no additives of chemicals, saltpetre, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, tannin or sulphur. This type of salt is used all over the world by the Jews, Arabs and others to make sure they are following the prescribed dietary laws of their religion.
Kosher salt can be classified according to the different qualities of its compound structure. The most common and simplest form is salt chloride. It is transparent, greyish white and is often used for seasoning and cooking purposes. In addition to its basic form, kosher salt can be found as fine crystal salt crystals, powdery flakes, thick brittle flakes and microcrystalline salt crystals. Each type of salt has a distinctive property and should be used accordingly. Let's take a look at a few of them now.
Microcrystalline kosher salt is also known as "microsodium chloride". It is the rarest kosher salt around and crystallized due to the formation of millions of tiny salt crystals. It is formed by pressure and high temperatures, and it is commonly found in various products today including dry cell batteries, rocket motors, rocket fuel and even automobile tires. This type of kosher salt is completely translucent and its properties include, it is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antifungal, disinfectant, detergent producing, flavouring agent, laugtherapy (healing), limewater (alkaline), ionizing, mild laxative, stimulant, soap producing, thermometer detecting and ultraviolet radiation resistant. Its most important trait however is its ability to withstand high temperatures.
Choline bitartrate kosher salt is made from the amino acid choline, and it is more likely to end up in foods that contain vitamin C such as tomatoes and oranges. It is also found in vitamin B complex protein and other foods that may need to preserve the vitamins intact. The downside of using this type of kosher salt is its ability to form calcium salts when mixed with other salts. This makes it less likely that the calcium will dissolve in the food because of the presence of too many salts. The solution to this problem is to either lower the amount of salt that is mixed with the choline bitartrate or to use a different brand of kosher salt that contains no magnesium chloride additives.
Table salt can come in two basic forms which are kosher salt table salt. The former is the less expensive kind while the latter has artificial preservatives, colouring and other additives added to it. Most kosher salt table salt can be bought in any grocery store or discount superstore. Table salt should be used for only one purpose and that is making table food at home. If you want to cook food at home, make sure that the kosher salt that you're using is completely natural with no additives or preservatives added to it.
Unrefined kosher salt is made from grains that are not salted. These grains are most often barley, buckwheat, flax seeds, corn and millet. While they're not as salty as the refined and processed table salt, they still have a lot of minerals in them such as zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. These salts are used by most kosher chefs when cooking meat and fish.
Some chefs prefer using smoked kosher salt because it gives better flavour. Smoked kosher sea salts comes from all parts of the animal such as the kidneys, the shins and even the neck. This raises the salt content of the salt and also raises the smoke point which greatly imparts a different taste to the salt. However, not all kosher salt works the same way and there's no right or wrong way to use the salt. Some people like their kosher salt to be hot while others prefer it to be room temperature.
You probably won't notice the difference between kosher salt and regular table salt while eating but if you buy kosher salt you might notice that it has more colour. Kosher salt is harder and holds more moisture, so it usually has a darker grayish-brown colour to it. It's not as likely to melt into a sea of salt on your fingers as regular table salt would be, but it does retain some saltiness of the sea and can help you retain the flavour better. For example, if you eat sea salt on crackers you'll probably notice that it has a better texture to it and tastes better than regular salt. That's because regular salt tends to lose its salty flavour with time and become bland.