Salt of the earth

8 Apr

One of Michael’s aunts is from Bulgaria.  She once told me that she couldn’t get used to the salt here in Canada because it wasn’t as salty as the stuff  she used in Europe.  I’d never given salt a lot of thought before.  When Jade started on keto, I switched to sea salt because someone on an online forum had said that keto kids shouldn’t use iodized salt.

As it turns out, iodine isn’t the problem.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a box of table salt?  Yes, the INGREDIENTS.  What do you expect to see?  “Ingredients: Salt”.  Right?  Okay, an anti-caking agent of some kind wouldn’t be surprising.  But nope.  “Table salt” actually contains SUGAR.

Sugar!

No wonder the salt in Bulgaria tastes saltier.  It probably is saltier.

I’ve been looking more into salt lately because last time I bought salt, everything at the grocery, even the “sea salt”, contained extra ingredients.  I thought SURELY there most be salt sold somewhere that is just plain salt!

Then a couple of weeks ago I read somewhere that unrefined sea salt is healthier to use for cooking compared to other types of salt because besides sodium chloride, it also contains trace minerals and chemically looks much more like the natural salt of our blood.  I don’t jump onto every nutritional band-wagon that makes fantastic health claims, but it did remind me to go looking somewhere else for salt.

As usual, the Riverside Grocery was able to deliver.  I ended up buying “Redmond RealSalt All Natural Sea Salt”, which comes from an “ancient sea bed” in south central Utah.  Perhaps not exactly what one would expect when thinking of  sea salt.  You know, considering how much existing ocean we have on the planet.  It claims to have over 50 natural trace minerals, including iodine.  It also says the salt did not suffer any heat processing, and contains no additives or preservatives.  It is somewhat speckled with reddish-brown spots, as though it contains a bit of sand, but I haven’t found it to be gritty, so perhaps they are simply coloured salt crystals.  Maybe it’s those “natural trace minerals”.

Whatever.  It’s easy to think way too much about this.  The main thing I wanted, and got, from this salt is all in the ingredient list, which reads: sea salt.  Also, it tastes great.

Who could ask for anything more?  Especially when you don’t want anything more.

13 Responses to “Salt of the earth”

  1. Laurie April 9, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    How bizarre. Who would think that SALT would contain anything but, well, SALT? All the more reason to really, sometimes at least, spend some time thinking about what ALL of us are putting into our bodies.

  2. Rachelle April 9, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    The problem lies in the word “salt” itself, which chemically speaking is any ionic compound. There are TONS of salts other than sodium chloride – maybe some companies are pushing the envelope of the common definition. That being said, any type of sugar definitely doesn’t fall under that umbrella!

  3. Bruce April 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Here in England, I’ve just fetched the “Co-Op Table Salt” from the cupboard. It’s Ingredients are
    1) Salt
    2) Anti-caking Agents (magnesium carbonates, Sodium hexacyanoferrate (II))

    I can’t understand why anyone would add sugar to table salt.

  4. Clare April 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    I use La Baleine Sea Salt. It’s ingredient list is “Sea Salt”. I have picked it up at SuperStore but now, like most of my spices and seasonings I just order through The House of Spice online. They’re out of California but they have the freshest spices at reasonable prices and shipping is very fast.

  5. Cristina April 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Since I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah almost two years ago, I feel obliged to comment, given your excellent taste in salt. 😉 Because Utah and a few surrounding states were once at the very bottom of a primordial ocean, gardening here has been a pain; there’s too much salt in the soil! 😛 In fact, the Great Salt Lake is what’s left of that ancient ocean and is the second saltiest body of water in the world–second only to the Dead Sea. Weird, huh?

    Okay, I am through with the TMI. 🙂 I am so glad you were able to sleuth out the additional ingredients in the table salt! That is crazy!

    • fawnahareo April 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

      Not TMI at all! I visited the Great Salt Lake when I was about 8 years old. My most prominent memory, sadly, is the smell of dead fish! I don’t know why there were so many dead fish lying around on the shore, but there was definitely that salty, seaweedy ocean smell, too.

      But the salt really does taste fantastic! Maybe you could start a new business harvesting salt out of your garden!

  6. Captain Momma April 10, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Who knew?????

    Like Clare, I use the La Baleine sea salt as well.

    Just like some form of corn and wheat, sugar gets put into too many things as well!

  7. Scientific Chick April 11, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    That’s really weird. I just checked my table salt, and it doesn’t have any sugar in it either, just salt.

    Maybe it’s a Yukon thing?🙂

    • fawnahareo April 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      Hmm, well, I doubt it’s a Yukon thing, since the salt I looked at was Sifto table salt, which I think is one of the biggest brands of salt in Canada. I’m pretty sure it’s what I bought in Ontario. On the other hand, milk products are not consistent across the country, even for the same brand, so I suppose it’s POSSIBLE the same is true of salt…though unlikely, since there probably aren’t salt cows in every province.🙂

      • Veronica July 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

        July 2012
        Just randomly came across the blog and finding out that you found Sifto contained sugar, checked my box of Sifto table salt. Its ingredients don’t have sugar, and I’ve looked up all individual ingredients, and it seems like there’s no sugar involved in their manufacturing either.
        I live in New Brunswick.

  8. dreamom April 12, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    My Windsor salt ingredients list (DID NOT even think to look for one!) says: Salt, Calcium Silicate, Sugar, Potassium Iodide, Yellow Prussiate of Soda (Anti-Caking Agent). My Kirkland (Costco) Sea Salt is: Sea Salt (99.8% sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium, iron, sulphates). At least it is better than the table salt! Thanks for the heads up🙂

  9. Uncle Al April 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Hmmm…I worked for Windsor Salt for 5 years in the 80’s and never knew about sugar in salt. There’s lots of info at saltinstitute.org and here’s what they say about dextrose:

    “Dextrose, when added (typically at about 0.04%), acts as a stabilizer for potassium iodide in salt, preventing it from disassociating into “free” iodine, which may be lost from the salt through simple vaporization.”

    p.s. your Bulgarian Aunt doesn’t remember that conversation – but does believe that the salt in her old country was saltier.

    Cheers,
    A

  10. Caroline May 13, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I just learned this recently, but the reason they add sugar to iodized salt is because it stops the potassium iodide from reverting to iodine! (See here: http://sci-toys.com/ingredients/table_salt.html)

    Of course according to this site they could also use other stabilizers like baking soda, which would be a wiser choice..

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