We love sea salt and are passionate about sharing our knowledge and experience with you. Our information below will unpack the mysteries and quirks of sea salt. Our focus is on using our products and we have first-hand, expert advice to pass along to you. Check back often as we continue to expand coverage of our products as well as add new products.
Please see our recipe category for many creative uses and ideas!
Some Names for Salt Shapes and Textures Salt
Flake Sea Salt: Flake sea salt crystals are thin, light, dry, and crisp. Some are pyramid-shaped while others are like tiny shells. They vary in size and, like snowflakes, no two are alike. Flake salt crumbles easily, unlike crystals, and adheres well to finished dishes. It dissolves quickly and is best sprinkled on food right before serving. Flake salt is a favorite with salad, vegetables, and desserts.
Fine and Coarse Crystal Sea Salt: Traditional sea salt that is hand-harvested, solar evaporated, unrefined, and milled to a fine, medium, or coarse grain. These are most of the sea salts in the world and range from dry to moist, white to grey, and are all-purpose in their use.
Mined Sea Salt: These are hard crystals with very little moisture, coming from the land as opposed to from the living ocean. These are the Himalayan Pink Salt, including the rock salt, Peruvian Pink Salt, and Bolivian Rose.
Grinder Sea Salt: Typically any dry, coarse grained sea salt is good for use in a grinder. Larger grained moist salt may also be used in a grinder. Always use a grinder with a ceramic grinding mechanism as metal, even stainless steel, will corrode over time.
Flavored/Blended Sea Salt: Any sea salt, generally fine or medium grain, blended with herbs, spices, citrus, or other flavorings. Used as finishing salt. These are handy additions to the salt repertoire as they can transform unadorned food into a special dish.
Smoked Sea Salt: Fine or coarse sea salt that is either cool or warm smoked over a fire to obtain a naturally smoked flavor and pleasing brown color. A perfect seasoning where a rich smoke flavor and aroma is desired. Loved by vegetarians for a non-meat smoky accent to soups and stews. Delicious with meats, seafood, eggs, potatoes, chocolate desserts, and as a rimmer for dark beer.
Rare Sea Salt: Sea Salt that is harvested in very small quantities, usually by one person. Truly artisanal products.
Kosher Salt: There are two types of Kosher salt. The most common type sold in supermarkets is named for its use in preparing meats according to Jewish dietary laws. It is a mecanically mined salt, not a hand-harvested, unrefined sea salt. The second type of Kosher salt is one that has been certified as Kosher by a certifying organization, such as the Orthodox Union. The salt has met the Jewish dietary law guidelines and is suitable for consumption by people following a Kosher diet. Our Cyprus and Australian sea salts are Kosher certified.
Organic Salt: Salt that is certified by organizations that have strict guidelines for salt production in their countries. The US does not have such an organization, but France has the Nature & Progres certification. The standards ensure the purity of the sea water, cleanliness of the salt beds, guidelines on how the salt is harvested and package, and the distance from vehicles. All of our French sea salts are certified by Nature & Progres.
Table Salt: Mechanically mined, refined salt found in all supermarkets.
Cooking Salt: Sea salt that is fine grain so that it dissolves easily during cooking.
Finishing Salt: Sea salt that is a flake or crystal used to season a dish after it is cooked or assembled. Salts are used this way to enjoy their subtle flavor differences and particular textures.
Using Different Types of Sea Salt
Most of our salts are used as finishing salts, scattered on your dish before serving. That enables you to experience the unique texture and flavor of the salt, the sheer beauty of the different crystals, their color, and each salts unique and particular effect on food. Another exceptional benefit to using our sea salt as a finishing salt is you will consume far less than table salt because of the incredible depth of flavor. Additionally, you will be able to control the amount you use. If you cook with fresh ingredients and season with natural sea salt, you will be in charge of your sodium intake.
Several of our salts may be used in cooking as well as finishing salt. These are perfect seasonings for everyday use. Our favorites are Grey Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink, or Bay of Fundy. They are relatively inexpensive and add the same complex flavor as in a finishing salt.
A Salt Tasting
The world of sea salts can be overwhelming. There are many choices and it is a puzzle at first. One of the best introductions to these salts is to organize a salt tasting. We offer tastes at Farmer's Markets and often travel to stores giving tastings to explain this complex, wonderful world. People are amazed at the differences. It is a fun way to experience the contrasts in salt and easy to set up a tasting at home (and a perfect reason to throw a party!). Start with three or four salts of varying textures. Try a flake (Murray River, Cyprus, or Maldon), a fine-medium grain (Fleur de Sel, Grey Sea Salt, Cornish, Kona, South African, Bali Pyramids), and a red or black salt (Alaea, Black Lava, or Black Cyprus). If you would like to add a salt blend or two, taste these next. Adding a smoked salt is a treat, but save it for the end as you will not taste anything else after eating something smoked. With this line-up you will have a well-balanced cross-section of sea salt to taste. Just keep in mind the order of tasting. As a general rule of thumb, taste from mildest to strongest.
Salt is best tasted on simple food to allow the characteristics of each to come through. Our favorites are French bread (plain or toasted-toasted is our absolute favorite) with unsalted butter or olive oil, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries.
We have created several Salt Blend Collections for just this occasion. Take a look at our Salt Collections page for ideas.
To Grind or not to Grind
Grinding sea salt is a perfect way to enjoy sea salts that have very hard crystals or are too large to serve on their own. Use a grinder with a ceramic or plastic grinding mechanism as sea salt will corrode a grinder with metal blades (even ones with stainless steel grinders, over time). Coarse sea salt with moisture, such as Grey Sea Salt, particularly needs a grinder with a ceramic or plastic blade. Ceramic grinders work better than plastic as they are firmer and last longer. The best sea salt choices for grinders are the coarse Himalayan Pink Salt, coarse Grey Sea Salt, the Bali Pyramid Salts, Jewel of the Ocean, Pepper & Pearls, and Peruvian Pink Salt.
Baking with Sea Salt
Baking can be very exacting. Salt measurements in cookbooks and other recipes are geared for fine grain table salt, not hand-harvested sea salt (unless otherwise noted). Because of the coarseness of most sea salt, the grains take up much more volume in the measuring utensil and will throw off the amount of salt specified. In addition, the crystals of medium-coarse textured sea salt will not dissolve during cooking. Our fine grain sea salt is perfect for all baking. Our favorite is fine grain Himalayan Pink Salt as it is dry and mixes well. For Grey Sea Salt lovers, our fine grain works, as well.
Using a finishing salt on baked goods or desserts is another story! There is something beguiling and pleasing about crunching into a grain of fleur de sel on a sugar cookie, or a scattering of Guava Smoked Sea Salt over chocolate ice cream. Scatter sea salt over focaccia before baking, or serve with caramel sauces. The sweet-salt union is growing in popularity and is an area that is waiting for your creativity.
For a look at our recipes with sweet-salt combinations, check out our recipes pages.
Himalayan Pink Salt Tiles, Bricks, and Plates
Salt tiles, bricks, and plates have become increasingly popular in the last few years. They make beautiful serving dishes and cooking vessels and offer a dramatic presentation. They season the food being cooked or served and may be used over and over again. Use them chilled for sushi, salad, ice cream, sorbet, granita, fresh cheeses, and fruit. Heat them and cook shrimp, scallops, thin slices of fish, beef steak, pork tenderloin, vegetables, mushrooms, or use to fry eggs.
Heating the salt tiles, bricks, and plates will change their color (We have even seen them turn white) and surface irregularities will appear. They may also take on a darker color depending on what type of food has been cooked. Your salt block will last for a very long time. However, after a very long time, it will become too thin for cooking. At that point, break up the tile, brick, or plate into small pieces and use as a finishing salt over food by grating with a microplane grater. There is no waste with our tiles, bricks, and plates!
The various salt block sizes are easy to clean. A simple wash in warm water with a gentle scrub removes the food. The salt is naturally antimicrobial and does not need detergents for cleaning. Pat excess water with a towel and rest on the towel until completely dry. Store your salt block in an zip bag, especially in the summer or if you live in a humid climate. The salt may weep and drip. It is not necessary to seal the bag, but to keep the salt from direct contact with your countertop.
More information is available on the product pages.