The New Home Economics

The deal with salt

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My one or two loyal readers (thanks, sis) may remember a post I did a couple weeks ago about the Weston A. Price Foundation and the many, many things about their eating and nutrition advice that confused me.  One of their recommendations was:

Use only sea salt, preferably celtic sea salt.

I now have a better understanding of the “salt” issue thanks to two things:

1. Cookus Interruptus.  This hilarious video blog about cooking and food in general.  In particular, they have an informational video about salt.

2. A book that I just started reading that just might change the way I look at food, forever:  Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.  I don’t want to write up a full review of it until I finish it, so stay tuned.  (Clue: Sally Fallon is the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  See how this is all coming together?)

Basically, the deal with salt is:  natural sea salt contains traces of many different minerals including iodine, which humans must get a little of so we don’t get goiters (can’t type that without thinking of Seinfeld).  Table salt, or sodium chloride does not contain iodine.  Therefore, food processors add iodine to it, in order to help us out with our iodine requirements.  Aren’t they nice?

However, the problem is, the iodine makes the salt all yellow and clumpy, and “the American Consumer” [supposedly] needs their salt to be white and easily pourable.  So our friendly food processors bleach it and add things like non-caking agents to make it, well, non-caking.

What about Celtic sea salt that the WAPF people are so fond of?  Apparently that has a super-higher-than-average mineral content.  I am unable to find it at my local CO-OP and I imagine that it’s not exactly cheap.

What about kosher salt?  Adam and I have been using Kosher salt in cooking for a while, because it has a really nice texture.  According to Wikipedia, kosher salt is just like table salt, but does not have iodine or other additives, although some kosher salts apparently still have anti-caking agents added.  So if we keep exclusively using Kosher salt as we have been, we might get goiters?  We are going to switch.  Thank goodness for the educational value of Seinfeld.  Goiters are not something I want to mess with.

My next question is, how “green” is sea salt vs. table salt?   I don’t know if any table salt is produced in or near Minnesota (which would beat sea salt for shipping), but even if it was, there’s still all the bleaching and chemical additive production.  But how DO they harvest sea salt, anyway?  Anyone want to weigh in?  Stay tuned…

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One thought on “The deal with salt

  1. To harvest sea salt, hug amounts of sea water is gathered in tanker trucks and emptied into plastic pools that reside inside green houses. The sea water is left to evaporate leaving behind the white gold…sea salt….this is how The Maine Sea Salt Company does it..(I saw a show)

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