The importance of salt in the culinary world goes beyond its role as simple seasoning. It is a vital element that boosts flavors, balances acidity and sweetness, enhances taste, and preserves food. Two types of salts are commonly used, pickling salt and Himalayan salt, both having their own set of qualities and distinctive features. The immersive popularity and widespread uses make them suitable for many purposes.
In this blog, we will explore pickling salt and Himalayan salt, and how it is different from each other because both have their unique qualities.
What is Pickling Salt?
This is a special type of salt designed for the process of preserving and pickling foods. That is why it is also known as preserving salt or canning salt. Its fine-grained texture dissolves easily in brine, ensuring a clear solution without any unwanted additives affecting the pickling process. Lacking these additives guarantees that it refrains from adding unwanted tastes or causing discoloration to the fruits or pickled vegetables.
The popularity of this type is also due to its unique properties like immediate dissolution, making the pickling process easy. Being composed solely of sodium chloride without any additional elements, it delivers a pure and strong salty flavor. Hence, even a pinch of this salt is sufficient to elevate flavor. Moreover, it also lets the taste of pickled items shine without causing disturbance from impurities. Its purity contributes significantly to preventing cloudiness and avoiding alteration of the original flavor. In short, pickling salt benefits are remarkable in preserving and pickling food for an extended period.
What is Himalayan Salt?
The common name of this salt is pink salt due to the presence of trace minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. This pinkish hue became the main reason for its recognition and popularity. It is a special type of rock salt. Himalayan pink salt is sourced from the Khewra salt mines located in the Punjab region of Pakistan.
Himalayan salt benefits are countless due to the presence of several minerals that are not present in ordinary table salt. These minerals make it suitable for various health benefits like promoting proper hydration, helping in nutrient absorption, and supporting electrolyte balance. Moreover, it also holds detoxifying properties and eliminates waste products from the body. This attribute plays a significant role in improving the texture of skin.
Himalayan Salt Vs. Pickling Salt-Key Differences:
Mineral content is a key factor in distinguishing both types of salts. The former type is pink in color due to the presence of trace minerals. These minerals not only impart color to salt but also add a unique flavor profile. It is not a suitable salt for canning.
Contrarily, canning salt lacks any mineral and hence its composition is 100% pure, containing only sodium and chloride. Therefore, it possesses a white color. Moreover, this purity plays a fundamental role in preventing any unwanted alteration in the flavors of the pickled items.
The difference in the grain size of these two salts is noticeable. Canning salt is finely ground, ensuring fast dissolution in liquids. This attribute eases the preparation of pickling brines. Even and smooth distribution of salt throughout the brines is due to its fine texture. It leads to harmony in the flavor of the final product. However, this is a plus point of using this salt for pickling purposes.
On the other hand, Himalayan pink salt has a coarser grain. Hence this salt is suitable for use in cooking and seasoning purposes. The larger crystals not only look beautiful and appealing but also add a delightful crunch when you utilize them as a finishing salt.
Both salts are quite different from each other. Thus, they cannot be used interchangeably. Canning salts are suitable for pickling purposes but not appropriate for regular cooking and seasoning. The reason behind this is they play no role in enhancing flavor due to the absence of minerals.
Conversely, pink salt possesses a unique mineral composition. This makes it versatile and fit for multiple applications like seasoning, cooking, and even a finishing touch.
Can We Substitute Himalayan Salt for Pickling Salt?
Himalayan pink salt is not recommended for canning and pickling because it has trace minerals in it and could affect the quality of canned products, especially pickled products.
Which salt type is beneficial for you depends on your intended purpose and preferences. However, the following considerations for substitution will help you to make an informed decision.
Purity and Clarity:
Himalayan salt is not mere sodium and chloride; rather it contains many other essential trace minerals and elements to your table. But fail to provide you with a perfect level of purity if it is your priority. Canning salt can fulfill this requirement. So, whether you prioritize the mineral-rich complexity of Himalayan pink salt or the pristine clarity of canning salt depends on your culinary goals and, of course, your visual preferences.
Pink Himalayan rock salt is the best substitute for canning salt if you want flavor enhancement. Due to additive minerals, it is unfavorable for pickling purposes as it adds complexity to pickled items. Hence, consider the flavor profile and select accordingly to find whose unique taste complements other ingredients.
When it comes to how your pickles look, choosing between Himalayan salt and pickling salt is about what you want them to be like. If you like the pretty pink color, go for Himalayan salt. If you prefer your pickles to look super clear, pickling salt is the way to go.
The distinctive features of Himalayan and pickling salts offer diversity in the world of salts. Picking between the two solely depends on their intended purpose and utility. Anyhow, pink salt is favorable for its numerous health benefits and flavor-enhancing features. Contrarily, canning salt is the go-to choice for preserving the original taste of vegetables and fruits without introducing unwanted flavors and colors. After a better understanding of the key differences between these two salts, you can make informed decisions about their selection.