Some sea salt is considered to be kosher, simply because it meets the Jewish laws of kosher foods, and that is, that it does not contain any harmful or unnatural additives. This has created a lot of confusion between the two salts, as many think they are very similar. But to the contrary, they are actually quite different, even though they can both be used in cooking to enhance the flavor of the food.
Sea salt is produced from sea water. The sea water is channeled into large ponds where it is allowed to evaporate in natural sunlight. The residue which is left behind is sea salt. The salt can be purchased in fine grain, or in a coarser grain depending on what your needs are.
Sea salt which has not been refined will have more color, but after it is refined it is usually white. The colors range from gray to pink, as well as a sandy color. Unrefined sea salt contains no additives, such as anti-clumping agents or sugar. Plus, it contains up to 80 essential trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine.
Kosher salt is usually obtained by compressing table salt crystals under high pressure in order to create larger crystals. You can purchase the salt in various different grains, but usually they are not as fine as sea salt. It contains no additional additives or minerals.
The coarseness of kosher salt causes it to dissolve much slower and therefore it is able to absorb more moisture from the food. This is why it is used during koshering meats to draw out the blood, and therefore it is named kosher salt. A fine salt will not work, simply because it will be absorbed into the meat, giving it a salty taste.
Kosher salt is also used by many chefs because the flaky crystals will spread more evenly when cooking. The flaky crystals are known to stick around longer, and therefore they are used to season the surfaces of foods. They are also rubbed on margarita glasses for a slight hint of salt. But, because of the larger crystals, it is not suitable for baking or for regular table use.
Which Is Healthier?
To determine which salt is healthier, we only need to look at what the salt contains. Both unrefined sea salt and kosher salt contain high amounts of sodium which we should all try to reduce, and neither one of them contains any other additives which may be harmful. But on the nutritional level, sea salt contains many essential minerals which the body heavily depends on. These minerals help the body to neutralize acids and to regulate the functions of muscles. Kosher salt contains no minerals, as they are removed during processing.
Some say kosher salt is a better choice simply because one uses less in cooking, as less will fit into the measuring spoon. But, you could just as easily add less when using a fine grain salt such as sea salt.
When buying sea salt, always read the label to ensure that it is unrefined, and that it does not contain any anti-clumping agents and other additives.