Table salt: Cubic, grainy and thin enough to slip between your fingers, it’s a typical salt shaker trick. In the United States, it is often fortified with iodine (aka iodized salt), a holdover from a widespread deficiency in early 20th century diets. A lot of people think iodized salt has a metallic aftertaste, but even when table salt isn’t iodized, we don’t recommend it – it’s so thin it’s easy to over-salt.
Kosher salt: BA, it’s not necessarily kosher itself – it gets its name from its use in the kosher process. Widely available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to grip and pinch, it makes a good all-purpose cooking salt. Diamond Crystal and Morton, the two most popular brands in the United States, are heavily processed: water is injected into underground deposits to dissolve the salt, then this brine is refined for purity and the water is evaporated. Companies like Jacobsen, SaltWorks, and La Baleine make less refined (and, some say, tastier) kosher sea salts.
Fine sea salt: Whether coarse or fine, refined or unrefined, industrial or artisanal, sea salt is what is left over when seawater evaporates (it is not harvested from ancient deposits). As you might expect, the fine sea salt has been ground to a sandy texture. It’s easy to find bottled at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and unlike flaky sea salt, it’s often mass produced, making it a bit cheaper.
Flaky sea salt: Examples include fleur de sel, gray salt, Maldon, and Jacobsen, all of which are made using slightly different methods. (To complicate matters further, there is too flaky salts that come from salt deposits, not straight from the sea.) Either way, you are paying for the texture and flavor, so use them where they can be enjoyed – not in brine or salt. pasta water. Sprinkle over grilled steak or chocolate chip cookies before they reach the oven.
Black salt (aka kala namak): This salt has FLAVOR. Also called little noon, among other names, its color (which is actually redder than black) and its egg and sulfur aroma comes from iron sulfide. Black salt enhances sweet, sour and tangy flavors and is an essential ingredient in chaat masala spice blend and citrus nimbu pani refreshment.
Himalayan pink salt: Most of this blush salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. No scientific evidence supports marketing claims that it’s healthier or cleaner, but it sure looks pretty! (Pink Andean salt, although similar in color, is collected from underground saltwater sources in Peru.)