If you’re a fan of cooking shows, or if you often visit this website (and many others like it), you might have noticed that “kosher salt” is a common ingredient in many recipes. But you may be wondering, what exactly is kosher salt, and why is it so frequently used?
What Exactly is Kosher Salt?
First, let’s clear up one thing. Even though it’s called “kosher” salt, it’s not named that because it follows special food rules in the Jewish religion. It’s actually named after a process known as “koshering,” where it’s used to draw out blood from meat. But don’t worry, we won’t be doing anything like this with the recipes on Recipeteacher.com.
If you’ve ever had a good look at kosher salt, you’ll notice it’s different from regular table salt. The grains are much bigger and not all the same size. Also, it’s usually just pure salt without any extras like iodine, which is often mixed into table salt. This means when you use kosher salt, you’re getting a clean, pure salt flavor that won’t mess with the natural taste of your food.
Why is Kosher Salt Used So Frequently in Recipes?
Kosher salt is a favorite ingredient in many recipes, and here’s why:
- Tastes Clean: Kosher salt is just pure salt. It doesn’t have extra things added to it like regular table salt does. This means it gives a clean, true salt taste to your food without making it taste funny.
- Easy to Handle: The grains of kosher salt are bigger than those of table salt. This makes it easier to pinch and sprinkle over your food, so you can control how salty your dish becomes.
- Spreads Out Well: Because kosher salt is a bit chunkier, it takes a bit longer to dissolve, which helps spread the salty flavor evenly all over your dish. This is especially helpful when you’re doing things like soaking a turkey in a saltwater solution (brining) to make it super tasty and juicy.
- Looks Nice: In some dishes, you can see the larger grains of kosher salt, which can make the dish look even more appetizing.
But remember, because the grains of kosher salt are bigger, a spoonful of kosher salt isn’t as salty as a spoonful of table salt. So, you might need to add a little bit more kosher salt if a recipe asks for table salt.
Kosher Salt Measures Differently Than Table Salt
Imagine filling a cup with small pebbles, and then doing the same with big rocks. Because the pebbles are smaller, you can fit more of them into the cup. This is similar to how table salt (our tiny pebbles) and kosher salt (our big rocks) work.
Table salt has tiny, uniform crystals that can pack closely together. So, when you take a spoonful of table salt, you’re getting a lot of salt because the grains are so small and fit tightly together.
On the other hand, kosher salt has bigger, uneven crystals. They don’t pack together as tightly because of their size and shape. So, a spoonful of kosher salt doesn’t have as much actual salt as a spoonful of table salt. There’s more air space in between the larger crystals.
This difference is important when you’re cooking. If a recipe asks for a teaspoon of kosher salt, and you use a teaspoon of regular table salt instead, your dish might be overly salty. That’s because, even though it’s the same volume (one teaspoon), it’s not the same amount of salt.
How to convert measurements of kosher salt to regular table salt?
If a recipe calls for kosher salt and you only have table salt, you’ll generally need to use less table salt. A good rule of thumb is to use half the amount of table salt. So, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, you would use ½ teaspoon of table salt instead.
There can actually be variances in the grain size of various kosher salts as well as other coarse salts. When in doubt, always use a lesser amount of salt. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away!
Enjoy the Food!
Salt has been a staple in flavoring our food throughout history. Often, it’s the key seasoning that brings a dish or recipe to life. The goal is to use just the right amount to satisfy your taste buds and elevate the flavors of your food to their peak potential.
Hopefully, this information sheds some light on the importance of kosher salt, a favorite among both seasoned chefs and cooking beginners. Keep a jar of it handy on your kitchen counter. Next time you’re cooking, grab a pinch of kosher salt, and maybe even coin your own catchy phrase as you sprinkle it into your recipe!