Kosher salt is extremely salty, usually edible, and with no common additives like iodine. Often used in cooking, kosher salt contains mostly sodium chloride, which is not absorbed well by the digestive system and is often referred to as table salt. Used traditionally and not on the table, it primarily consists of sodium chloride and can contain additional anti-caking substances. In many countries, kosher salt is not readily available and most shops sell kosher salt in a decorative salt form. Today, kosher salt is sold in tablet or crystal form in a variety of traditional and non-traditional combinations.
Though they are not technically salt, seawater has a wide range of textures and contains molecules that absorb varying amounts of water and moisture. Most sea salt does not have any discernible taste because of its lack of an ionic concentration. Table salt, on the other hand, consists mainly of sodium and magnesium, iodine is a relatively higher percentage in seawater than salt in the soil, which explains why table salt has salty (hydrated) flavors. Seawater salt is commonly used for table salt, although commercially processed seawater salt has almost no salt content.
Kosher salt is often confused with regular table salt because it does not contain an electro-statically-bonded structure, as does regular table salt. It is made by treating seawater or ocean water with electricity, exposing it to high temperatures and salts dissolved in the water. After the treatment, the solution is discharged into a container, mixed with other substances (such as baking soda and yeast), and stored in a freezer. The salt is then processed with various solvents to create various texture and seasoning qualities. Today, the kosher salt used for cooking purposes is generally more refined and is chemically enhanced to improve its flavor and moisture absorption.
In order to remove "yeasty" odors from foods, manufacturers can chemically dissolve the odor-producing compounds using chlorine gas and hydrogen peroxide. Although commercially available chlorine gas and hydrogen peroxide can dissolve some naturally occurring minerals, they are too harsh and often damaging to the taste and integrity of kosher salt. To dissolve odors using chlorine gas and hydrogen peroxide, manufacturers can add a weak solution of ammonia or oxygen to the solution. If using ammonia, manufacturers should dilute with de-ionized water first to avoid damaging the flavor and structural integrity of the salt. It is also important to remember that natural minerals such as potassium and magnesium will eventually react with the chlorine to form sodium hydroxide.
In order to use kosher salt on fresh foods before salting, you should dissolve the salt before adding them to the food. For example, adding flour to bread and using kosher salt to make cakes and cookies both require you to dissolve the flour before using the resulting salt. The process is similar to other grains. By using small electric grain mills or a food processor, you can quickly and easily make a batch of kosher salt-free of charge.
With today's wide variety of grains, it can be challenging to know how much kosher salt to use on each type of food. Fortunately, there are several guides available to help you get the best every time. For instance, the kosher symbol on the back of the salt piece represents the number of grains used. The more grains used in one recipe, the less expensive kosher salt will be used. Also, keep in mind that the amount of table salt or ground salt that you need to purchase depends not only on the particular type of food you want to season but also on the amount of liquid needed to season it as well.
The simplest method of kosher salt selection involves purchasing table salt that is in its normal grade. This is usually not necessary when purchasing sea salt, since that grade does not require any special treatment for use as a kosher salt alternative. However, when purchasing regular salt, especially when buying in bulk, you should make sure that the package clearly states which type it is and lists the percentage of kosher salt it contains. The same goes for sea salt, which is often sold in its regular salt form without being labeled as kosher.
Some people prefer kosher salt because they believe it to be more beneficial to their health. Sea salt has no additional additives that may prove detrimental to your health, with kosher salt, on the other hand, does contain such additives. While kosher salt will not hurt your health, using it when cooking can cause your food to have an overpowering flavor that may cause unpleasant side effects. If you have never tried kosher salt, a trip to your local grocery store may be the easiest way to find this special seasoning.