Here at Passport Dinners we use Mediterranean Sea Salt from Spain for our exotic dinner kits. It is traditionally harvested through evaporation from wind and sun in small salt fields and is unrefined and minimally processed. It is slightly sweet and naturally snow white and naturally contains magnesium and iodide. So it makes no sense to buy that regular store salt in the blue container which adds iodine and aluminum compounds to prevent caking (more about preventing caking later).
So we thought it would be fun to buy a few different types of mostly finishing salts to taste the differences and pass those differences on to you.
- Hawaiian Black Salt: really salty but with a mineral taste
- Hawaiian Red Salt: not as salty
- Sel Gris: more flavorful
- Mayan Salt: very salty with a sharp taste
- Himalyan Pink Salt: not as salty and more flavor
Hawaiian Black Salt: also known as black lava salt, black salt or black sea salt. Top grade Hawaiian natural sea salt has a unique combination of taste and mineral content while also being reasonably priced. The black crystals give a dramatic presentation in addition to their delicious and spectacular flavor.
This black sea salt has additional purified black lava loaded with minerals and activated charcoal for color which produces a slightly sulfuric aroma. You’ll love the earthy flavor that this lava sea salt provides when used as a finishing salt.
Hawaiian Red Salt: also known as Hawaiian sea salt, Alaea salt or Hawaiian coarse table salt. It has a deep pink color which comes from Alaea clay that is added during the harvesting process. This salt is composed of over 80 minerals and historically has been used for ceremonial purposes such as blessing and purifying sea-going boats. It is a non-processed product and is also used to preserve food.
Hawaiian Red Salt adds depth to dishes because of its earthiness. This is particularly tasty when used as a rub on prime rib roasts. We have found that the clay mellows the sharpness of the salt and adds great presentation with its wonderful color. You will find there is no aftertaste and it gives a gentle tingle.
Sel Gris: Sel Gris is also known as Celtic salt or French grey salt and has become increasingly popular in the mainstream culinary world in the last few years, with many salt aficionados’ believing that it is the best quality salt available. Grey salt is considered an unrefined “moist” sea salt, and is typically found in French Atlantic coast region of Brittany. Its light grey color is a natural occurring process of the minerals being absorbed from the clay lining the salt ponds. Sel gris comes from the same solar evaporation as fleur de sel but is harvested differently; it is allowed to come into contact with the bottom of the salt pan before being raked, whence its gray color. Sel gris is coarser than fleur de sel but is also a moist salt, typically containing 13 percent residual moisture.
The water currents of the Atlantic Ocean run cleaner in Brittany than in many other salt harvesting locations and this convergence of mother nature makes this a perfect area for the finest salt farm region in the world. Sel gris offers a complex balance of sea minerals with large grey crystals and a moist texture.
Mayan Salt: Mayan Sea Salt is harvested off the coasts of El Salvador. This Pacific Ocean sea salt is captured in man-made ponds that are nourished by the rich volcanic soil. The end result is a delicate fresh flavor that is packed with minerals.
Archeologists have found evidence of sophisticated Mayan salt production dating back to 1,000 B.C.. Mayan sea salt has also been called White Gold and it has been calculated that between 3 and 6 tons of sea salt were transported along the intricate trade routes of the ancient Mayans each and every day.
Himalyan Pink Salt: Himalayan Pink Salt is mined by hand from the foothills of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. Harvested by hand from ancient sea salt deposits which date back more than 250 million years ago to the Jurassic era, salt experts believe that this is the purest form of salt available.
This fossilized pink salt has a rich mineral content with more than 84 minerals and trace elements including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. High grade Himalayan Salt crystals range in color from sheer white to various shades of pink, to deep dark reds. This salt is highly sought after for its spectacular pinkish pink color, high mineral content and for its therapeutic properties.
Sea salts that are considered better as roasting salts typically dissolve quickly and rapidly lose their flavor after lengthy cooking. The salts we sampled are usually used as finishing salts. A good finishing salt has distinctive mineral, moisture, and crystal qualities that compliment your food with a burst of clean, mild salty flavor with each bite. Plus the distinctive colors of each of these salts lends to great eye appeal when finishing dishes.
To prevent caking of these beautiful finishing salts we recommend storing your salt in a cool, dark place as heat, moisture and humidity will cause the crystals to clump.
Passport Dinners brings you DIY dinner kits for you to taste the world, one country at a time. Check us out at www.passportdinners.com.