Salt has been sought after for human use for thousands of years and has 40,000 applications from manufacturing to medicine. Years ago, Greeks traded salt for slaves, thus the saying “he’s not worth his salt.” Roman soldiers were partially paid in salt – the word “salary” comes from the Roman “salarium” stemming from the word salt. There are many types of salt available and there is a lot to be said about each of them, but a concise version of common ones is as follows.
Regular table salt sold at all supermarkets is mined like coal by using explosives and bulldozers then flushed with water so the brine comes up from the subterranean deposits and the crystals are bleached, formed into tiny dense cubes that don’t dissolve well and are laced with chemical anti- caking agent and often “iodized.”
Kosher salt can come from earth or sea and has no additives, but is compacted between rollers, which produce large irregular flakes so it can easily draw blood when applied to freshly butchered meat.
Celtic Salt is sea salt gleaned from salt marshes that are channeled into a labyrinth of 3.5-6 inch pools called the vasieres of France which were designed 2000 years ago. Movement of the salt water from pool to pool is tended carefully by the salt farmer, or paludier. As the water travels, particular sediments sink to the bottom while salt stays on the top and is skimmed off. The salt is light gray due to micronutrients and retains moisture, which holds in the nutrients. It comes in coarse ground (good for cooking) and fine ground (good for baking or as a table salt). An unusual salt that comes from this process is called Fleur de Sel (Flower of the Sea)
– collected from the surface of the foaming brine when certain weather conditions (mostly NE winds) are present. It is slightly pink and contains all the minerals of the ocean and is best as a finishing salt for meals. All three of these are available at Corners, one of which comes in a reusable salt grinder.
Maldon Salt is English sea salt that gets its delicate flavor from a tradition of boiling the sea water to form hollow pyramid-shaped crystals, which can be easily crushed between your fingers.
Red and Black Hawaiian salts are specialty “finishing” salts (used especially for an artistic touch to food). The red has an iron taste from the soil used to add its color, and the black has a sulfuric taste from added purified lava.
Himalayan Crystal Salt comes from high in the Himalayas and has a crystalline structure that corresponds harmoniously with our bones and enzymes. It contains over 72 minerals that naturally exist in our bodies in the same proportions found in human cells, since it comes from ancient seas. This salt is also available at Corners.