Thursday, January 4, 2024


Wilfredor, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>
via Wikimedia Commons

A recent article in the New York Times talks about the production and culinary use of different kinds of salt. It's a reasonable article, as far as it goes:

The article doesn't discuss the potential health benefits of trace minerals. That's a pretty big topic. Sally Fallon scratches the surface here:

[blogger seems to censor links to the below website, so please piece it together yourself if you like]

https: //www . weston a price . org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/mineral-primer/ 

Pure NaCl is (by weight, by my calculations) 22.99 / (22.99 + 35.45) = 39.34% sodium, 60.66% chloride, and 0% other stuff.

Here's an analysis of Redmond Real Salt, a good, trace mineral–rich salt: 

In this analysis, Redmond was 37.90% sodium, 60.92% chloride, and 1.18% other stuff (other minerals). 1+% doesn't sound like a lot. Some of these minerals are present in only trace amounts. Some of them are needed in only trace amounts. Bioavailability of these minerals varies. Etc. But unrefined salts like this one have been part of the human diet since the beginning; refined, iodized table salt, with questionable additives like sodium ferrocyanide, has not. So I prefer the unrefined salts.

Do we get enough iodine without iodized table salt? According to the Sally Fallon article linked above, "[Natural s]ources [of iodine] include most sea foods, unrefined sea salt, kelp and other sea weeds, fish broth, butter, pineapple, artichokes, asparagus and dark green vegetables." If you have symptoms of thyroid problems, iodine might be a good place to start looking.

Another thing the NYT article doesn't help much with is salt conversion. If a recipe calls for a cup of Diamond Crystal but you would like to use some other type of salt, how much should you use? The article links to a confusing chart that would give Edward Tufte fits for its hamfistedness. I will spare the reader this link.

This post illustrates the varying specific weights of different salts: 

According to them, 1 cup of Morton’s Kosher Salt weighs 241 grams, while 1 cup of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt weighs 137 grams. That's a huge difference! 

Maybe I will make my own chart that includes more, and more interesting, salts.  

In the meantime, the lesson here is that salt should be measured by weight, not by volume, because 10g of one kind of salt is going to be just as salty as 10g of another kind of salt, to within at most a few percent.

And as far as fermenting goes, get a digital kitchen scale if you possibly can (they are under USD10!) and use 2% salt by weight for most of your ferments!

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