Mother Earth Living

Guide to Artisan Salt Types

With at least 150 types of artisan salt on the market, there's a salt for just about every purpose. Explore our favorite artisan types in this guide.
By Tabitha Alterman
September/October 2013

Left column, top to bottom: Black, Red, Maldon, Gray Sea Salt Right column, top to bottom: Smoked, Shio, Himalayan, Fleur De Sel
Photo By Thomas Gibson


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With at least 150 artisan salts on the market, there’s a salt for just about every purpose. Below is a list of some of the most widely available types. Cooking salts are perfect for uses where they will eventually commingle with other flavors. Use finishing salts to season food after you prepare it, and to add texture and bursts of flavor. For more about artisan salt, read the original article, All About Salt.

Black Salt

• Appearance: Combined with activated charcoal; sulfuric aroma and silky texture 
• Best uses: Finishing salt; sharp, earthy flavor excellent on sushi or grilled meats and veggies

Smoked Salt

• Appearance: Pale yellow to brown 
• Best uses: Cooking and finishing salts; sweet, woody, deep, smoky and fruity flavors (depending on type and age of wood used for smoking)

Red Salt

• Appearance: Combined with red clay; crunchy texture
• Best uses: Great for roasting, grilling and in rubs; mineral and buttery flavors go well with seafood

Shio Salt

• Appearance: Fine white crystals
• Best uses: Cooking salt; fresh, clean flavor; enriches flavor but does not call attention to itself

Maldon Salt

• Appearance: Thin, flat white crystals
• Best uses: Finishing salt from English coast; delicate flavor; dissolves slowly on the tongue

Himalayan Salt

• Appearance: Pink; also comes in whole slabs useful for cooking and serving
• Best uses: Potent cooking and finishing salt; rich mineral flavor pairs well with poultry, fish, and in brines and sauces

Gray Sea Salt/Sel Gris

• Appearance: Coarse, irregular gray to green crystals
• Best uses: Cooking and finishing; briny mineral flavor works well with meats, veggies, seafood, garlic, cumin and thyme; lasting flavor and crunch in hearty foods

Fleur de Sel

• Appearance: Fine, irregular white crystals 
• Best uses: Caviar of finishing salts, made only from the delicate crystals that blossom on the surface of crystallizing sea salts; delicate flavor; violet-like aroma; maintains integrity on wet foods








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