On my journey to learning about real food, step by step, I started to learn about regular pantry staples that I needed to replace.
I’ve written about the differences in refined versus natural sweeteners, bleached products that you can replace for a natural alternative, and even the nutritional benefits of grinding your own grains.
Another pantry staple that I replaced for a much healthier alternative was white table and kosher salt.
But isn’t salt, salt? The difference between refined and unrefined salt.
Just as I’ve written about the refining process of other pantry staples, white table salt is also bleached and refined. It’s brined in a solution which can include sulfuric acid or chlorine and heated to a point which removes all of its minerals and elements useful to our body. Anti-caking and conditioning agents are added to make it’s shelf life forever.
Iodine is also added to prevent goiter (swelling of the thyroid), however; at such a small amount (.01%) it’s insufficient to provide for the body’s iodine needs.
In contrast, unrefined salt contains all of it’s trace minerals and other elements that are naturally a part of it’s origin and never exposed to harsh chemicals. It ends up being much more than just sodium and chloride.
A complete mineral analysis for Real Salt can be found here.
Unrefined salt is a whole food product which is easily utilized by the body. Unrefined salt provides minerals (plus other important trace minerals) that help improve all bodily systems including the immune system, glandular system and the nervous system.
As a culinary use, unrefined salt also has a unique flavor and adds great texture to many different kinds of dishes.
There are a few different brands of unrefined salt that contain different amount of trace minerals dependent upon it’s origin. Celtic Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan, and Real Salt.
I’ve used all three and my current unrefined salt of choice is Real Salt.
Real Salt is an all-natural sea salt taken from an ancient sea bed in Central Utah.
The deposit occurs with over 60+ natural trace minerals which gives the salt its unique color, unique flavor, and numerous health benefits. Because the Real Salt deposit comes from an ancient sea bed, nature created the salt long before the earth experienced any pollution or contaminants that are troubling our oceans today.
The Real Salt deposit begins about 30 feet below the surface, covered by a layer of bentonite clay, which has protected it from erosion and from the possibility of modern contamination.
According to the Real Salt website…
Real Salt is currently harvested about 300 feet below the surface of the earth. The deposit is huge, so we carefully follow the food-grade veins and harvest the salt using carbide-tipped equipment that basically scrapes the salt off the walls of the mine. From there, the salt is screened and crushed to size before being shipped to our food-grade facility in Northern Utah. Real Salt is packaged after passing through a final automatic screening to be sure no metal residue or contaminants were introduced during the process.
What I love most about this salt is it’s speckled color and the price which fits most real food budgets. It’s about $4.95 for a large shaker and can be found at most health food stores, coops, or health food sections of regular grocery stores.
Now that you know the difference between refined and unrefined salt and a few brands you can try, I’ll be sharing a post later this week on how I use fine salt versus kosher (large granule) salt in some summer dishes.
I’ll also have a giveaway and two specifically for newsletter readers. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, please do so below.
So tell me? Do you use unrefined salt? Which brand is your favorite?
Links of Interest
Jackie @Auburn Meadow Farm says
I have been wondering about the dangers to our salt supply due to fracking and other agricultural and industrial pollutants.
Like knowing where out water supply comes from, where our garbabe goes and how our local electric grid works, most of us take salt completely for granted.
It would be a big surprise to learn the hard way just how reliant we are upon it.
I use Real Salt & love the pinkness; I am also ordering Celtic Sea Salt for a change of taste!
I use kosher salt now but am intrigued by unrefined salt. I may have to pick some up next time I am at the co-op. Do you use it for both cooking and at the table?
Katherine Atkinson says
Hi Nestra, 🙂
Real Salt is kosher in that a rabbi comes and inspects the facility and process and declares it “kosher”, but for most “kosher” means larger granules, which Real Salt also has available.
So whether you’re wanting kosher certified or larger grains of salt, Real Salt has you covered! 🙂
I use both, but after reading this, I think I’ll ditch the processed stuff! Thanks for the info 🙂
We have just switched to different types of salt including celtic and kosher. i want to try the Himalayan with fermenting. i’d love if you went into more detail about the other types of salt- you only covered the one. are they sponsoring you? 😉
Diana Bauman says
Molly, they are a sponsor but this post is not sponsored. There’s actually a link from Real Salt where they compare the different types of salt. It’s a good post as they do let you know they are all good salts.
I do think I should do a post though with all 3 in the future 😀
Katherine Atkinson says
Hi Molly, 🙂
I just commented to another reader, but Real Salt is kosher because a rabbi comes and inspectes to certify that it’s kosher, but when most people think of “kosher” they’re thinking of larger grains of salt which Redmond offers as well.
“Kosher” salt is still refined salt if it’s white. “Real” salt (not the brand but the “real thing”) is not white. Any salt that is pure white with no flecks is refined and processed and demineralized which is what you DON’T want. 🙂
There are only three salts that are worth eating: Celtic, Himilayan, and Real Salt.
Himilayan and Real Salt are both from ancient sea beds and are buried deposits that are unexposed to modern toxins and polutants. Celtic is harvested from the sea and so is potentially exposed to modern toxins and polutants.
They all have slightly different tastes depending on the mineral content, but Real Salt (the brand) has a salty-sweet taste where Himilayan has kind of a smokey taste. Himilayan is also MUCH more expensive because it is imported from Pakistan.
Hope that helps. 🙂
The Celts are not the only ones still harvesting salt from the ocean. Koreans do it too.
If you want to find another exotic salt, check into Korean bamboo salt. 🙂
I have ordered Celtic salt from a website and it said their salt are all unrefined. One of the salts I ordered was Celtic White FINE salt. But you said if they are WHITE they are refined. Please let me know because they said all the salts are Unrefined. Thanks.
Diana Bauman says
Noori, what brand is it?
There are many natural, unrefined salts around. Just look at any culture which has/had ancient salt-extracting traditions. From Ukraine to anywhere else covering this art-form. Earth salt, sea salt, rock salt… The options aren’t as narrow as you assume.
Paula Krueger says
Interesting. I’m going to replace mine, too. I’m almost out of table salt anyway
Megan @ MAID in Alaska says
Such a great post! I’ve been wanting to write something similar, but just couldn’t get it together. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 I’m going to share the link to your post on my Facebook page!
Iris Kaplan says
Please tell.me how much Real Kosher Salt to use iny recipes as I have always used regular grocery store Kosher salt. Thank you.
Diana Bauman says
You can substitute it 1:1.