The two types of salt look different, taste a little different and definitely feel different – but the chemicals that make them up are the same. So what is the difference between sea salt and table salt? And maybe the bigger question for our customers, how can they be used differently.
Sea salt and table salt both have the same chemical makeup – Sodium Chloride (NaCl), and for that reason they actually have the same nutritional values; even though sea salt is often seen as a more nutritious form of salt. The main difference is in how the two types of salt are produced; sea salt is made from evaporating seawater, while table salt comes from underground salt deposits and is heavily processed. This is the reason behind any sort of differences between the two types of salts – the evaporated seawater often has trace minerals or elements that add to the color and flavor of sea salt. With table salt being so meticulously processed and mined, all trace minerals are eliminated.
Another difference is that table salts contains iodine – which is why it is often called “iodized salt”, iodine is not typically added to any sea salts. The reason iodine is added to table salts is because there are regions in our country, the Great Lakes region especially, where the ground has very little iodine, which is a necessary mineral for the human body. Iodine, which helps our bodies regulate hormones produced in your thyroid for metabolism, was then added to salts by many companies dating back to the 1920’s.
So now that you know the differences in how they are made, here is the real question, when should you use sea salt vs table salt. While there are many reasons for using sea salt, few are actually for flavor. While people in blind taste tests did think the sea salts tasted better, they were more impressed by the sea salts appearance and texture. The sea salt grains are much larger than table salt. Meaning you can actually see the salt on top of a sweet pastry or a vegetable, many people like to see that there is salt on it. Sea salt’s large grains also give the food a crunch when biting into it which many people like. The crunch adds a new texture to the food and gives it a more gourmet appearance. However, one of the main complaints about sea salt is that it doesn’t stick as well. The large grains of the sea salt often will fall right off of a french fry for example, while table salt sticks easily to most any food. The other important thing to note is that sea salt is often more expensive per ounce than table salts, which means in many circumstances where the salt is neither seen, nor heard – if the two salts taste the same, most people will not notice if you use sea salt or table salt in your recipe so many choose the less expensive table salt.
So what do you use in your recipes or what differences have you noticed between the two salts? Let us know!