Saturday, March 26, 2011

Salt, Glorious Salt

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As most of you know, those of us with dysautonomia are prescribed a very high sodium diet by our doctors (5000-10000mg a day usually) to increase our blood volume and prevent drops in blood pressure. This can be a daunting task for those of us not used to such a huge amount of salt.

After my POTS diagnosis, I realized that salt was going to be a huge part of my life and, well, I wasn’t a big fan at that point (gasp!). So…I decided to search around and find as many different kinds of salts as I could to add some extra excitement to my meals. Once I started looking, I was amazed at how many different kinds of salts exist out there. And not only do they exist, they taste amazingly different! I had no idea that different salts added unique flavors to your meals. I had been a sea salt and kosher salt user, but that was the full extent of my knowledge. Now I know that the specific minerals from the area that the salt is mined add a different flavor to each type. For example, the red coloration of Alaea (Hawaiian sea salt) comes from the clay in that area. I know, it sounds gross, but it’s actually delicious. One of my favorites in fact.

Over the years, I have accumulated quite the unique and beautiful salt collection (in my opinion). Such a collection, in fact, that we installed a shelf in our kitchen that is dedicated only to my salts, and it is overflowing! I think it is quite lovely as well.

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I encourage all of you POTSies out there to explore the different kinds of salts that the world has to offer. It definitely made my crazy salt consumption a little more exciting. Although I love many of the salts, I think my favorites are Alaea, Maldon, and Fleur de sel. And have you ever tried adding salts to the tops of different desserts? It can be quite lovely depending on the dessert (chocolate loves salt!). Have fun exploring the wide world of salt!

Some details about the salts that I have:

Many of these salts are hand harvested, which is part of the reason they are so expensive.

Maldon: a finishing salt that is best applied to a dish after it has been plated; b/c it is flake salt, it dissolves quickly and evenly and has a lovely flavor

Fleur de sel: means "Flower of salt" in French; has a lovely, delicate taste that is great to add as a finishing salt. I’ve even had it on chocolate…yum!

Alaea: Hawaiian sea salt contains a small amount of harvested Hawaiian clay that enriches the salt with Iron-Oxide (which makes it red). It has a great flavor, and I use it on all kinds of things, especially when I'm roasting vegetables/meats.

Grey Salt: a natural, unrefined sea salt that is supposed to retain many of the minerals from the clay where it was mined; many believe it to be one of the best salts available

Himalayan salt: this salt is harvested from deep in the Himalayan Mountains, and has a high mineral content that is often sought after for health benefits (there are a myriad of articles on the web about it)

Kosher salt: Great for using as an everyday salt, I add it to almost every recipe. It has a mild taste and doesn’t overpower your dishes.

And it doesn’t stop there: there are black salts with charcoal, salts mixed with every herb out there, even salt with vanilla. Try them out…It will definitely perk up the flavor of the dishes that you have to flood in salt every day!

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