What’s Better: Sea Salt or Table Salt? As a dietitian, I get asked this question ALL the time as flaky, colored sea salts continue on as a food trend. Known for being richer in minerals than regular table salt, sea salt, sometimes called Flor de Sal (flower of salt), is touted as enhancing the taste of food, being more healthful and less processed than “regular” salt. Coming to us in colors like pink and black, it is undeniably beautiful but is it better?
I’m in Mallorca this week (also called Majorca), an island off the coast of Spain the Mediterranean. We got to go on a salt tour while we were here at Flor de Sal d’Estrenc. Big piles of white salt are pushed off to the side in the distance by a trench that brings water in from the sea because there are no rivers here on the island.
We got a fabulous tour from Gayorg who entertained us while we crossed cultural barriers to figure out what sea-monkeys are and why Americans call them that. Who knew that brine shrimp live in salt ponds?! We learned about how the sea water is brought into man-made holding areas where it evaporates in the sun, leaving behind salt and other minerals. Sea salt is certainly high in calcium, magnesium, and other minerals so it is true that it is a richer source of nutrients that regular table salt but keep in mind that the amount you would eat would never amount to the level of nutrients you’d need for health.
What's Better: Sea Salt or Table Salt? I visited the island of #Mallorca #Majorca in Spain to tour a #FlordeSal producing area to find out Click To Tweet
Some chefs enjoy using sea salt or Flor de Sal because of it’s culinary properties – both because of the texture as well as the added mineral content. And we have enjoyed eating it on the delicious Padrón peppers you can find on Mallorca. The thick, flaky, translucent salt flakes compliment the sweet peppers so well that it’s easy to see why a chef would love it for some preparations.
So what’s better: sea salt or table salt? I’d say it depends on how you want to use it! After seeing how they collect salt naturally, I have a new appreciation for the process. If you prefer a more natural product, a beautiful natural color, or the flavor of added minerals into a large flake for certain culinary uses. If you just need some table salt for a recipe, perhaps use table salt. I’m not sure if I can say one is “better” than the other (how ‘dietitian’ of me), but rather that it depends on the use and on your preference. After seeing Gayorg scoop salt off the top of a salt pond with a rake and hold it in his hands, I can imagine myself spending more money for sea salt or Flor de Sal t in the future just because I better understand where it came from, how difficult it is to ‘make’ and it’s value.
So what do you think? What’s Better: Sea Salt or Table Salt?
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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