Kosher salt seems to have cemented its spot in the culinary world. At this point, you'd be hard-pressed to find a chef that doesn't swear by it. Home cooks have also jumped on this coarse-grain train. If you Google kosher salt, you'll find many articles touting the culinary benefits of this mineral.And by now, we can all pretty much recite the advantages of this salt by heart:
- Kosher salt is free of additives (*depending on the brand, see below)
- Kosher salt's flake-shaped crystals are easy to grab when seasoning by hand
- Kosher salt tastes better than table salt
- Kosher salt dissolves better and adheres to food more easily
- Kosher salt is inexpensive and easy to find
But what exactly is kosher salt? Contrary to what you might think, its name doesn't mean that this salt adheres to Jewish dietary guidelines, but rather that it's used in koshering meat (the process of drawing blood from meat). Kosher salt is mass-produced specifically for this reason. The major brands include Diamond Crystal and Morton Salt.
Kosher salt's coarse, crystal flakes stick to meat better and don't dissolve as easily as the finer cube-shaped grains of table salt would (which, if used for koshering, would make for one salty cut of meat). Kosher salt has larger, irregular crystals with lots of surface area, similar to sea salt. But despite appearances, kosher salt actually relates more closely to table salt because they are both refined in similar ways.
You can hardly find one bad thing whispered about this particular seasoning -- that is, unless you read the writings of Mark Bitterman. He's the author of "Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral" and owner of the salt boutiques, The Meadow. Bitterman feels that kosher salt is, in culinary terms, the equivalent of Wonder Bread. He said, in a Washington Post article, "I think if squeeze-tube margarine is your butter, hot dogs are your meat, and spray-whiz nacho sauce is your cheese, then I suppose kosher can be your salt. Otherwise, reach for a natural salt."
Those are some harsh words he spouted about this much loved salt; and when his book came out in 2010, there was a lot of hoopla pertaining to his views of kosher salt. But after a bit of time the commotion quieted down, and we haven't really seen any change in the way people think about this salt. So we want to know from you, how do you feel about kosher salt? Take the poll below and let us know.
Why do you use kosher salt? Leave a comment.