If you love cooking, there’s a good chance you’ve used sea salt in your recipes before. Those bold, rock-like salt pieces that you sprinkle on top of potatoes, vegetables, and other food help to make the dish a little more flavorful.
Is Your Sea Salt Actually From the Sea?
While sea salt has the name “sea” in it, that doesn’t mean that it actually comes from that body of water. Many people say the sea salt we find on our grocery store shelves comes directly from evaporated seawater, so it has a ton of minerals in it. But, that’s only if your salt actually does come from the sea. Much of which does not. Mental Floss set out to set the record straight on this common misconception.
People love the salt because of the taste, and some believe that it is better for you than regular salt. In fact, many people believe that sea salt is better for you since it is less processed and contains more minerals. While this seems great, again, the minerals are only there if you get salt that is actually from the sea.
Even though you’d hope that the Food and Drug Administration is allowing sea salt on the shelves that is actually from the see, you might have to keep hoping. Unfortunately, all of the salts you see aren’t always from the sea. In Robert L. Wolke’s book What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, he says that if the FDA gives the salt the go-ahead in terms of purity, it can be passed as sea salt when it technically isn’t. He says that a manufacturer might mine two things of salt from the exact same deposit source and say that one is “table salt” and the other is “sea salt.” The FDA isn’t going to make the manufacturer prove that the bin he labeled “sea salt” actually came from the sea, just as long as it does well in the purity check.
Basically, the best way to think of sea salt is that it probably hasn’t been infused with anti-caking agents. Don’t think that it actually came from the sea because it probably hasn’t. Although, that might not be a bad thing as studies have found that salt from the sea directly has been contaminated with micro-plastics. In water, the pH levels can range from 1 to 14, with seven being neutral. pH levels below 7 are acidic, and pH levels that are above 7 are basic or alkaline. Seawater tends to have pH levels of at least 8, and fresh water bodies like lakes tend to have pH levels ranging from 6 to 8. Keep this in mind as well when purchasing any salt that claims it’s from a body of water.
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