This is a list of many different types of #salt. If you want to learn about which salt you really need and why into more depth, it comes up as #2 in my Pantry Makeover newsletter.
- Table salt. Salt chemically processed into pure sodium chloride by super-heating, bleaching, drying, the addition of anti-caking agents etc. During this process, natural elements and trace minerals in the salt are removed.
- Iodized salt. Salt with the mineral iodine added in it. May be helpful if you don’t eat much sea products (fish, sea vegetables…).
- White, gently processed sea salt, but with trace minerals in it (usually bragged about on the package). Coming from a fairly clean ocean area, and not stuffed with anti-caking agents (check your labels) makes it a good, affordable go-to salt. You'll find this in any supermarket.
- Raw, often grayish-white, not so dry, pure sea salt such as Celtic Sea salt.
- Pink rock salt of the Himalayas or Peru, all with distinctive trace minerals.
- Red salt from Hawaii gets its color from the volcanic clay called alaea. As water evaporates, this salt gets trapped in tidal pools, where it mixes with the alaea. It is estimated to contain the highest concentration of essential trace minerals of any salt and is especially iron rich.
- Black lava salt, also from Hawaii, gets its black color due to its content of activated charcoal, which is great for digestion and removing impurities in the body.
- Another black salt, kala namak, from India gets black once it's ground. It is highly sulphuric in taste and content. For this reason, it is thought to be a beneficial digestive aid.
- Persian Blue. This unique salt harvested from an ancient salt lake in Iran is extremely mineral rich and slightly sweet. Its blue color comes from the natural compression of the salt's structure over the millennia, not from its mineral content. The same effect is seen in blue glacial ice, where the molecular structure has been compressed to the point that it begins to refract light differently.
- Fleur de sel means “flowers of salt” in French and is so-called because the crystals look like lacy snowflakes. Fleur de sel is white because the salt crystals don’t come in contact with the clay beds in which seawater concentrates (where gray salt comes from). It is harvested from the surface of the water where it forms when winds are calm and the weather is warm.
- Smoked. Smoked salts have no significant nutritional benefits over normal sea salt. In fact, they are simply sea salts smoked at low temperatures over a bed of coals and sometimes another fragrant ingredient (usually a type of wood), which lends a smokey flavor to the crystals and a grey or tan color.
- Kosher salt. A coarse-textured salt dissolves quickly and can be used for any kind of cooking. Kosher salt is not really “kosher” – the name comes from the fact that it is used for drawing the blood out of meat, a step in the koshering process. Ordinary salt is too thin to be used for koshering.
- Seasoned salt. A blend of usually table salt and herbs, spices, even seeds, dried vegetables, seaweed, even truffles etc., but often also MSG.
- Epsom Salt. A type of bath salt that contains magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. It’s name came about from a bitter saline spring in Epsom in Surrey, England. It has the power of drawing stored tissue wastes from the body through the skin (used in baths) and also internally (kidney and gallbladder cleansing).
- Textures: fine or coarse, crystals and flakes, granulated... Get your type depending on the intended use - fine for shakers, coarse for cooking. Flaked sea salt dissolves faster than other types of salt.
All salt is essentially sea salt with distinctive mineral make up (in case of unprocessed or gently processed salts).