After we got settled in our new house, I did a photo tour of our home that I posted to Facebook. One of the pictures showed my lovely IKEA spice rack that houses some of my different salts and my most-used spices. Then a couple days ago, I got an email from a friend asking about my “salt collection”…what different kinds of salts I had and what I used them for. It was such a fun email to answer! Yes, it’s rather silly, but I love talking foodie stuff like different salts. And when I asked on Facebook to see if there were other salt geeks out there, I got a couple requests to share what was in the email…so I decided to make a blog post about it. And here we are!
My Salt Collection
Celtic Grey Sea Salt: I love this salt and it’s definitely the one that I use most often. I buy the five pound bag from our co-op, Azure Standard (though I’ve seen it on Amazon as well), and then keep a wide-mouth pint jar of it by my stove so I can easily add it to things as I need it. I use it in most of my cooking from scrambling eggs to sauteing veggies, in some baking, in making most salad dressings, etc. It’s a coarser-grained salt so there’s a bit of a learning curve in regards to how much to use if you’re used to finer-grained salts, but it’s totally worth the trial and error. (Supposedly, if you generally measure your salt, there are certain ratios you can use to figure out how much you need of a coarse-grain salt as compared to a fine-grain salt, but I never actually measure my salt so I don’t know what those are.)
Himalayan Coarse Crystal Salt: This I also get from Azure and it’s what I use to fill my salt grinder for at-the-table use. Therefore, it usually gets used to salt oil-and-vinegar dressed salads or if someone wants their food saltier than it already is. This a very large-grained salt so I would really only recommend it if you have a salt grinder. Otherwise you could end up with big globs of salt in your food!
Fine Sea Salt: I get this at Trader Joe’s and it comes in tall blue and red/pink container. I don’t use it super often since it’s kind of boring and is very white which usually means that there aren’t as many trace minerals in it (one of the big reasons I like using other salts is because they’re a good source of trace minerals). However, the fine grains do come in handy sometimes when I need the salt to dissolve quickly so I use it mostly for making certain salad dressings, for making saline solutions when they’re needed and in this amazing homemade calamine lotion recipe.
Vignalta Sea Salt with Herbs: This was a gift from my mother-in-law and I’m so glad she introduced me to it. It’s a sea salt mixed with rosemary, sage, black pepper and garlic…so good! I’ve used it in many things…herb and butter rubs for roast chickens, on foccacia, etc. My latest use for it is when I want a quick salty and savoury pick-me-up…I toast some sprouted bread, slather it with butter and then sprinkle this stuff on…YUM!
Black Lava Salt: This is the latest addition to my salt collection and I’m excited to try it out. I was ordering some other stuff from Mountain Rose Herbs and wanted to try one of their culinary salts and this was the one I chose…though it was a very hard decision since they have so many fun-looking ones! Since it’s new, I haven’t used it much yet…but from its description on the website, it sounds like it would work great as a finishing salt for pretty much anything.
Smoked Sea Salt: This I also got from Trader Joe’s and I’ve loved it to use as a natural way to add smokiness to a dish. However, I haven’t seen it around TJ’s recently and I’m wondering if they’ve discontinued it. If that’s the case, when I use mine up, I’ll just use their South African Smoke seasoning. That one isn’t just salt (it has some paprika, garlic and basil in it too), but it’s still totally natural and works great for adding smokiness.
Kosher Salt: This is just your basic Morton’s Kosher salt. I don’t use it much in cooking since it’s still pretty refined and therefore lacks many trace minerals, but I still like to have it on hand for things like salting eggplants, making brines, etc…basically anything that uses a lot of salt, but will be mostly rinsed off or thrown out (that way I don’t have to waste my good salts on that stuff).
I also have a little jelly jar half full of some salt that Aaron’s parents brought me back from Salzburg, Austria. It’s a fine grain mineral salt and since I’m pretty sure I won’t ever get some again (unless I go to Salzburg myself…which would be so much fun!), it’s my “special” salt and so gets randomly thrown in dishes whenever I feel like it.
And that’s it. Nothing super fancy, but still fun to cook with and add a little variety!