The simple reason your food might taste too salty

What kind of salt do you keep in your kitchen?

Morton-style salt, left, and Diamond Crystal salt are both sold as “kosher salt,” but the salt on the left is twice as salty as the one on the right, which can cause problems if you are using recipes developed with one kind of salt or another. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

When I was a kid, there was really only one kind of salt: Iodized table salt. It was in the salt shaker and in the round cardboard container in the pantry. No one pinched or sprinkled it, salt bae-style, on the food while cooking. We always used the salt shaker and not our fingers, and because my mom wasn’t a pickle-maker or ice cream-maker, we never thought twice about kosher salt or knew that there were other kinds of salt.

As an adult, I’ve purchased various sea salts and even Himalayan salt grinders over the years. I’ve had Morton kosher salt in my spice cabinet for years, and I’ve slowly started to use it almost exclusively.

But here’s the deal: It’s the salty version of kosher salt.

Morton, which is sold in a blue box, and many other store-brand kosher salts, including H-E-B’s, which also comes in a blue box, are twice as salty as Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

This bears repeating: A tablespoon of Morton (or H-E-B) kosher salt equals two tablespoons of Diamond Crystal.

Many chefs prefer using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, but it’s not widely sold in Central Texas. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

See how fine those flakes are? They aren’t quite as fine as iodized salt, but it feels more like iodized salt than kosher salt. I’m used to using the heavy stuff and salt accordingly, but when I was cooking from a cookbook recently, I realized that this too-salty salt might be causing many cooks to oversalt their food without realizing it.

In part, that’s because some cookbooks are developed using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, so if you use Morton’s, your food will be twice as salty. But even if you aren’t using a recipe, the kind of salt you use can definitely make a difference in the salinity of your food.

It can be difficult to find Diamond Crystal kosher salt in Texas, but Central Market carries it. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The good news: When you’re just pinching salt from an open container, the difference between the different salts isn’t that much. All weighed less than a gram, but what does matter when you pinch salt is how many fingers you use to do it. As you cook more, you’ll notice the difference between two- and three-finger pinches of salt and adjust accordingly.

 

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