Can you imagine a world without salt, let alone a kitchen without this precious ingredient?
Offered up by the seas and the earth’s pans, this ancient and remarkable element is essential in the diet of humans, animals and plants.
Here are some of the more common types of salt;
Table salt – The most common of all salt, table salt is mined from salt deposits, processed to give it whiteness and a fine texture and mixed with additives so it pours more easily. Iodised salt has had iodine added.
Himalayan salt- Is a rock salt with a pink hue which originates in Pakistan and is purported to have a number of health properties and benefits.
Maldon salt- A brand of salt which is made from sea water on the Southern coast of England. On drying, the salt forms crystal flakes.
Smoked salt- A granular sea salt which is wood smoked. It adds a smoky, salty flavour to meat, chicken and vegetables.
Kosher salt- A pure (with no additives or iodine), irregular shaped crystal salt which is good for general use and is particularly good for brining.
It is interesting to learn that the word “salary” comes from the Latin word for salt, because it was a form of payment. It has been woven into European history since Roman times and stretches far into African history too. The ancient kingdom of Mapungubwe traded with India and China thousands of years ago. There are medieval European records documenting salt-making technologies as well as African legends of the magical powers of salt.
Oh, and if you are one of those superstitious cooks who flicks spilt salt over their left shoulder and never knew why? Spilt salt is associated with treachery and lies, and thrown over the shoulder is supposed to blind the devil waiting there!