Rockstar Ingredients: Salt

Salt?!

You heard me.

But none of that iodized, processed, table salt crap.

I'm talking about the real thing.

Rich mineral secrets from deep inside the belly of the mountains

and the precious sea nymph gems that crystalize upon the shores...

clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

clockwise from left: celtic salt, salish, himalayan pink.

We've been conditioned into a strange relationship with salt.

We fear it, and we crave it.

Why? Because we know full well that table salt is a mess. The processing strips it of its inherent nutrients, and puts additives in their place. Toxins like fluoride, anti-caking agents, and potassium iodide creep in, while bleaching ensures a pristine looking product. In some cases, aluminum derivatives are added, which cause a multitude of health issues, including...are you ready for this? Alzheimer's. Whaa? And we're putting this stuff in our precious bodies?! That added to the fact that too much salt causes high blood pressure, inflammation (literally the building block of poor health and disease), water retention or dehydration (depending on other factors present), hypertension, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and even increases risk of stomach cancer. You gotta be effing kidding me.

On the other paw, pure salt earns rockstar status by supplying much needed essential trace minerals to the body, and in doing so alkalizes, boots immunity, fights disease and depression (by preserving hormones which help us to deal with stress), and eases a variety of skin conditions while detoxifying via a salt bath. 

Oh, and it tastes delicious, of course. The trick is using pure salt sparingly, like the priceless jewels of the Earth that they are. You wouldn't just throw zillions of tiny diamonds around carelessly, now would you?

It's still confusing, I know.

So, the question begs, when and how to salt? 

Salt binds to large molecules, like proteins, in food. So it's there, but you don't taste it. That creates hidden salt. We don't want that. And the larger the molecule, the less you will taste it. Now, you do need some salt during the cooking process, because it engages the action, and is necessary for things like browning, carmelization, for interaction in baking, and to generate what are known as Maillard reactions: a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars which give cooked foods their flavor. The idea then, my savory Darlings,  is to salt minimally during the cooking process, and sprinkle it on just before serving. That way you get the full flavor of these gorgeous crystals without going overboard. 

The sexiest salts around? The Magic Three.

1. Celtic Salt - Hands down my all-time fave. You know how often I specify it in my recipes, and here's why: 

Long used in ritual for purification, protection, and grounding, its flavor is as powerful as its magic. 

Celtic salt is harvested off the coast of France by hand, in the traditional methods of the ancient Celts, by using the sun, the wind and shallow clay ionizing ponds, a method passed down through the ages. That alone connects us to its magic. Because it is unrefined, Celtic salt contains all 92 trace minerals needed for the body to function at its best. 

Naturally moist and lunar pale grey, Celtic salt makes the purrfect body scrub all on its own, but is positively heaven-sent when mixed with coconut or avocado oil, and anointed with your fave essential oils. (Hit the Main Menu button on the link page to shop.)

A must-have beauty and nutritional powerhouse.

Celtic salt ready for harvest.

Celtic salt ready for harvest.

2. Himalayan Pink Salt

Mined 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan mountain range, Himalayan pink salt was subject to enormous pressure over millions of years and is over 99% pure. The higher the amount of pressure, the more superior or excellent the state of order within the crystalline structure of the salt. 

Many Himalayan salts are sold cheaply but are collected from higher up near the tops of the Himalayan Mountains instead of from the deeper mines. These salts contain more impurities, do not have the same structure and are not as easily assimilated into the body.

Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements in ionic state and is a delightful pink color. People often state that they use less of this salt than of other types. 

And then there are the lamps, charged with happy negative ions which purify the air and promote a rested, rejuvenated state of calm. Like being in a sexy salt spa cave.

let's have a date, here.

let's have a date, here.

3. Smoked Salt

Also known as salish, smoked salt makes it into my sacred circle for its amazingly intense charcoaled flavor. This is a secret weapon of an ingredient if ever there were one. Deep and earthy, salish is created by slowly smoking the salt over wood, usually Alder.

And what is Alder? One of the Sacred Celtic Trees, my Beasties. Known as The King of The Waters (the Willow being its Queen,) the Alder grows in the faerie realm, where land and waters meet. 

This sacrosanct tree attracts powers of self protection, divination, healing, and all things connected to the element of Water. 

Keep that in mind as you're lightly sprinkling salish onto your latest culinary creation.

the king of the waters.

the king of the waters.

I'll leave you now with two words:

Salt. lick.

xxx Alise