Himalayan salt, also known as pink salt, is one of the many salts that have become popular as of late. Like other artisan varieties, this condiment is just one more high-end end culinary product currently on the market. In this article, we'll take a look at Himalayan salt's main uses and benefits, and tell you where you can buy it.
Table salt (the everyday kind that we use on food normally) goes through an industrial manufacturing process that refines it uniformly. It's most commonly sold in a 1 kg package, and you can purchase it at any grocery store.
Until recently, the only variation on the market was iodized -enriched with iodine as a way of including this nutrient in the diet. However, now a wide range of gourmet salts have hit stores.
Unlike refined and industrially processed salts, all Himalayan salt isn't exactly alike. This naturally occurring type varies both in composition and structure and in the amount of moisture found in the minerals. Since it's usually produced locally, its production process is more focused on the details than large-scale companies.
Gourmet salts are full of nutrients that are both flavorful and beneficial for the health and contain essential trace elements that aid the metabolism.
Besides, no two crystals of this artisan mineral are exactly alike which makes eating it an innovative experience. Of course, refined salt has a uniform shape which is more traditional.
Himalayan salt provides the following health benefits:
Contains high concentrations of minerals like sodium chloride, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iodine, and potassium.
The former point not only contributes to a diverse range of flavors but also provides the body with essential nutrients.
Contains more moisture than industrial salts, which gives it a distinct taste and structure.
The crystals are acquired using manual procedures which gives them a unique texture.
It has a concentrated flavor which means that you won't need to add as much to your foods.
All of the properties listed above are recognized by culinary specialists as ways to make dishes esthetically unique and to be more innovative in the kitchen.
With this in mind, cooking with this gourmet salt totally transforms the culinary experience and has changed the food market. Besides, it's an excellent source of minerals.
Unfortunately, the one disadvantage of this condiment is its high price. Since Himalayan salt is a relatively new product, this means that the refined industrial version is still much more affordable.
Himalayan salt comes from mines in the Pakistani mountains of South Asia. Since this type of salt is extracted from the mountainside and not the sea, this spice has a pink hue because of the surrounding minerals.
This means that at the end of the extraction process, Himalayan salt appears in the form of tiny pink colored crystals which is how this spice earned this name. However, this isn't the only mineral condiment on the market with this striking color.
The same process is carried out in the Andean mountain range, making Bolivian pink salt another similar product. This area is also known as Salt Mirror since these Andean salt flats are located at over 3,500 meters, forming the world's largest natural mirror. In this same region, Peruvian pink salt can be found in Cuzco province.
Currently, pink salt can be purchased at almost any supermarket and you can usually find it in the gourmet section. Besides, you can buy it online, as many do in the United States.
One of the most popular U.S. based online stores is Salt Works, a company that specializes in selling and distributing table and bath salts, and of course, gourmet salts. Other companies that are worth looking into include Salt Traders, The Meadow, and Sea Salt Superstore.
Himalayan salt and any other type of pink salt can be consumed just like the regular kind. In other words, you can add it to any food to taste. This artisan product is often sold in small plastic or glass mills which means that you can grind it directly onto your food, improving the flavor.
However, some experts say that, unlike regular salt, gourmet salts should be added to foods after cooking. This is because it gives the finished dish a more visually pleasing and innovative appearance.
As far as the daily recommended intake, 2,300 mg of sodium is the maximum amount that an adult should consume -the equivalent of 5.8 grams per day. However, in the United States, the average person consumes up to 9 grams (Drake, 2010).
To top things off, this gourmet product has other uses beyond the culinary. For example, the Himalayan salt lamp is now commonplace in interior decoration.
Himalayan and pink salts aren't the only top end salts that you can find at the grocery store. In fact, sea and mineral salts are usually classified based on their production process, crystallization, and even their place of origin.
Other varieties include sea salts, Indian black salt, Japanese, smoked, salts with algae, river salts, and many others. Below, we'll take a look at a couple of the main types.
This type can be either fine or coarse depending on the caliber and composition. However, it's different than refined salt since this kind is washed and bleached, and even includes additives to prevent clumping.
This type of salt actually contains less sodium than others of its kind. Besides, it contains different minerals that give it a more concentrated flavor. This means that you can get the same flavor using less salt than if you were to use its refined counterpart. This last point could definitely be a plus for those that have high blood pressure or other conditions that require a low-sodium diet.
Himalayan black salt is also known as Kala Namak. This is a volcanic mineral that comes from an Indian district bordering Nepal: Darjeeling. The black color that it's known for comes from activated charcoal, in addition to its high sulfur content.
Beltran, O. (2008). El paisaje de la sal, en el plato. a propósito de las sales gourmet y las salinas tradicionales. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
Drake, S. L. & Drake, M. A. (2010). Comparison of salty taste and time intensity of sea and land salts from around the world. Journal of Sensory Studies. 26(1): 25-34.