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In most cases when a recipe lists salt it doesn't really matter what type of salt you use.  Normally I use some freshly ground rock salt although if I need to add a teaspoon of salt I usually use table salt.

Additives in table salt

Table salt usually has two additivities in it: iodine and an anti-caking ingredients. Iodine is added in minute quantities as iodine deficiency can cause thyroid and mental health problems.  In many countries iodine deficiency is a major public health problem which can be cheaply addressed by adding iodine.

An anti-caking agent is also often added to salt to prevent it forming lumps. In most table salts in Europe a man-made compound is usually added, although some more expensive table salts use a natural product.

There is no evidence to suggest that iodine or ant-caking additives do any harm. Indeed, quite the opposite as the addition of small amounts of iodine is beneficial for public health.

Salt for pickling

For some recipes it is important not to use table salt and where this is the case this is stated in the recipe. For instance, if table salt is used in pickling it can turn the pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy.  It doesn't make any difference to the taste, but it can spoil the appearance and make people think there is something wrong with the pickles. For pickling you needs to use a salt which is additive free.  Most sea salts are fine, but check on the side of the container. Some shops stock a cheap salt just for pickling,but any salt that is additive free is fine to use.

Salt substitutes

When pickling is it important not to use any of the low-sodium or salt substitutes: they might bluff your taste buds at the table, but you need real salt to preserve the food safely.

John Duxbury

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