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Real Salt Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

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Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Real Salt kosher salt (1 Tablespoon per 5 pounds)

2 Tablespoons Herbs de Provence (or a combo of thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, lavender, etc.)

1½ Tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

1 Teaspoon ground black pepper

½ Teaspoon cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon nutmeg

TURKEY PREP:  A frozen turkey takes 3-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Remove all the insides.  Drain excess juices.  Rinse with cool water and pat dry with a paper towel.

BRINE DIRECTIONS:  Mix the ingredients together.  Sprinkle 2 teaspoons brine in the cavity.  Massage the rest of the brine all over the turkey, loosening the skin.  Place back in the refrigerator and let sit 1 to 3 days uncovered (or cover loosely with tin foil), flipping the turkey once per day.  Remove from refrigerator, draining excess juices and patting the turkey dry with a paper towel.

BAKING DIRECTIONS:  At 450 F degrees bake for 30 minutes.  Turn heat down to 350 F degrees and bake for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes (12-15 minutes for every 1 pound).  The safest way to know if the turkey is done is to use a thermometer.

Video Instruction:

Why Do People Put Salt in Coffee?

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Did you know the key to making a killer cup of coffee may be adding salt? Though it may be news to you, it’s not a new trend by any means. In fact, adding salt to coffee grounds prior to brewing has long been the customary way to prepare java in countries like Turkey and Sweden, while adding it straight into the cup has been a military and trucker trick for making bad coffee drinkable since forever. Like pretty much everything these days, its value is hotly debated both on the internet and at the table–and that made us curious.  

The first thing we wanted to know was why anyone would put salt in coffee. Salty coffee sounds leagues less delightful than salted caramel, after all. We found three key reasons for the practice.

  • Salt enhances flavors. The magic of salt is that it unlocks already-present flavors, making them stand out. In essence, it makes food taste more like itself. This is why we put it in pretty much everything we eat, including sweet things. Some people find that a touch of salt will bring out interesting flavor notes you wouldn’t otherwise notice in your morning cup–although sometimes, those characteristics may only serve to make you realize that you need to buy better coffee.

 

  • Salt improves the water. People are fond of saying that your coffee is only going to be as good as your water. If you have hard water or the water you are using to brew coffee is less-than-fresh because it’s been sitting in your coffee maker’s reservoir all night, your coffee might end up being subpar. However, if you add a pinch of salt to the grounds, it can help counteract the effects of mediocre water and give you a better brew.

 

  • Salt cuts bitterness. There is a surprising amount of scientific inquiry into this theory, and what it’s showing is that the sodium component of salt reduces our perception of bitterness–more so than sugar. This happens because instead of masking it with sweetness, the bitterness receptors in your tastebuds react to the salt, allowing fewer truly bitter compounds to get through. Calcium may contribute to this effect, which could be part of why milk is a popular addition to coffee.

Makes more sense than you’d expect, doesn’t it? So what’s the technique to create a cup of joe that’s sublime and not salty? Adding a pinch of kosher salt (¼ tsp or less) for about 6 tablespoons of grounds should do the trick, but you can always start with less if that sounds like a lot to you. Alternatively, if you find yourself stuck with some poorly-made swill at a fast food joint or your in-laws’ house, adding a bit of salt in the same way most people add sugar could save the morning. If you like sugar in your coffee, you can still add that, too. It will likely taste sweeter with those bitter notes suppressed. Food science for the win.

What is Kosher Salt, Anyway?

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Ever stood in front of the salt display in the grocery store trying to divine the difference between table salt and kosher salt? What is kosher salt, anyway? When should you use it? Do you ever really need to use it? Is it only for Jewish people?

There’s a prevalent thought that kosher salt is so named because it is in compliance with Jewish dietary laws about food preparation and the types of food that may be consumed, and that perception is not exactly accurate. In fact, kosher salt isn’t even necessarily certified kosher—though if it is to be used in a kosher meal, it has to be.

What we commonly called kosher salt is actually coarse koshering sea salt, so named because salt of this size is used in koshering meat for adherents of Jewish kashrut (dietary laws). For some reason, the ing on koshering was dropped along the way by a few companies, and the change became the new normal. So in this context, kosher refers to the size of the grain. When you buy kosher salt, you know you’re getting a larger salt grain that is flat or pyramidal.  This is the ideal size of salt grain for koshering meat, as its greater surface area allows it to draw out more blood.

Koshering meat is a multi-faceted process that ensures that the protein is fully compliant with kashrut. Once butchering is complete, kosher preparation involves soaking the uncooked meat in water and then coating it in salt to draw the blood, as consuming the lifeblood of the animal is prohibited in Judaism. The salted meat hangs for one hour, and then is washed three times in clean, cold water until no salt remains. Following this, the butcher can dry it and further prepare it for selling.

For salt (even kosher salt) to be certified kosher, a product is vetted by the proper authority and found to be in compliance with the requirements and restrictions of kosher law. That authority then grants the kosher designation so consumers can choose a product that aligns with their religious standards. If you keep kosher, it is important to look for the designating symbol on your coarse kosher sea salt.

Now that you know what kosher salt is, there are a few more things you need to know.

For starters, while kosher is an approximation of size, actual size measures differently from brand to brand. Variations in size and shape can result in slight variations in measuring, so we recommend tasting as you go whenever possible if you’re using a brand you’re not yet familiar with.

On that same note, it’s crucial to remember that kosher salt and table salt are chemically the same, but NOT 1:1 interchangeable in recipes. Don’t try it. Disaster—or poorly seasoned dishes—may ensue. Kosher salt is larger and more irregularly shaped than table salt, so it doesn’t pack as densely in measuring spoons. It’s counterintuitive, but you’ll need more kosher salt to reach the same level of saltiness as a smaller portion of table salt. Generally, you’ll need twice as much kosher salt as table salt, but again, taste as you go.

If you are baking, we suggest not using kosher salt unless it is specifically called for for two reasons: it doesn’t always dissolve evenly and baking requires very precise amounts of ingredients to achieve desired chemical reactions. That said, kosher salt can make an interesting and delicious finishing touch on baked goods. Some people like to sprinkle it on sweets like cookies for a pop of salty contrast (which also adds complexity to the sweet flavors), and it’s perfect for topping homemade soft pretzels or bagels.  

Other popular uses for kosher salt include rimming margarita glasses, making spice rubs, coating meats, sprinkling on coffee grounds before brewing, and canning. Professional chefs prefer it in most dishes because its larger crystals make it easier to grab a pinch and control its distribution, while many home cooks like to add it as a finishing touch or place a bowl of it on the table for those at the meal to use to taste.

Lastly, it’s important to know how to store your kosher salt. While it will basically never expire, correct storage will keep it fresh and flavorful. The bigger granules don’t lend themselves to salt shakers, which is why it’s often presented in small ramekins at the table. In humid environments, continued open storage like this can lead to clumping—especially in natural sea salts that contain no anti-caking agents—so it’s not our first choice. We prefer a jar, pouch, or other reusable container if its original packaging isn’t a good option.

Why Do Himalayan and Celtic Salts List More Minerals Than Real Salt?

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Real Salt vs Celtic vs Himalayan

Have you ever looked at a lab report and thought you knew what it meant only to find out you were reading it incorrectly? Maybe your lab report was results from a blood test or something in science class. Well, sometimes this happens to other people, too. Like marketing departments. We think we know what we’re looking at and sweet! we’ve got a higher mineral count than all those other salt companies, let’s tout that on our labels immediately…but then, as it turns out…ummm… oops… we got it sorta wrong.

It happens.

You see, marketing departments are pretty great at doing things like crafting catchy slogans and connecting with key demographics, but we’re not always the best at doing things like interpreting in-depth lab analyses. You’re shocked, we can feel it. We were, too. (We hate knowing we have limits.) So, we don’t blame the other guys for making those claims, but the fact of the matter is, they can’t back them up.

 

Theoretically, a natural salt from either a current ocean or an ancient ocean will have about 84 trace minerals, however, some of those are in such minuscule amounts that lab equipment isn’t sensitive enough to detect them. The most a lab can realistically find is about 50 or 60. And that’s where the confusion starts.

When you read an elemental analysis you can see everything tested for and found as well as everything tested for and not found. For people who aren’t familiar with reading a report of this kind (like marketing departments), it’s pretty easy to mistake elements that were “detectable” with elements that were “non-detectable.” When looking over the report you’ll notice a little “< ” symbol near some of the minerals. If you reach way back into your third grade math memory file, you’ll remember that symbolizes “less than,” and more technically in this instance, “no quantities of this analyte were detected above the stated limit.” That’s an easy statement for marketing departments to spin, because what it means is that the lab tested for those things and couldn’t detect any at the stated threshold, but if they could test to a lower level it’s possible they would find it. It’s the lab version of “We can’t prove it but we can’t disprove it, either.”

It’s important to remember that we’re talking about Parts Per Million; if there is 1 part per million (ppm) in a given substance, it would equate to 0.0001% of the substance. Any lab tech worth their salt (ha) will tell you that when you’re dealing with limits of this size your results can vary slightly even with back to back tests of the exact same sample. That slight variation can be the difference between “detectable” and “non-detectable.” In fact, if you compare the “Real Salt Lab Analysis” with the “Real Salt Elemental Analysis” you’ll see 75+ elements listed on one and only about 60 elements listed on the other. The shorter list excludes the minerals that were technically not found. Sure, in theory there are 84 minerals, but we prefer science over theory. One day lab equipment may advance and become more sensitive, allowing us to find all 84 of those theoretical minerals, but for now, we’re only claiming the ones we can prove.


We’re not trying to throw other companies under the bus and we don’t believe they’re trying to be dishonest; they simply might not know how to read their own analyses or we may have different approaches to interpreting them for the purposes of marketing.

Regardless of marketing spin, Real Salt is a complete natural sea salt. It is unrefined with nothing added and nothing removed, containing all of the minerals that nature put in place—all 60 or 84 of them, depending on who you ask.

What About the Aluminum in Real Salt? Is It Safe?

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Ever since 1911, scientists have had questions about the safety of aluminum in our diets. Most notably, aluminum has been cited as a potential cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite an ever-growing body of research conducted throughout the last century, few clear conclusions have been reached regarding this complex issue, leaving the average person to wonder how much worry—if any—they should be devoting to the matter. We aren’t smarter or better-trained than actual scientists and medical professionals, so we aren’t going to claim to know the implications of aluminum in diseases. What we can do, though, is talk about the aluminum in Real Salt and what we know about its effect on the human body.

The first thing to know is that the minerals and trace elements in Real Salt pink sea salt are all naturally-occurring. We aren’t adding aluminum-containing additives like anti-caking agents (or anything else) to Real Salt. This is important when seeking to understand if it’s safe to eat. The naturally-occurring amount of aluminum in Real Salt is 0.0139% and is likely bound to the silica, making it aluminum silicate, as opposed to pure unbound elemental aluminum (which is the element research has raised questions about).

That said, pure elemental aluminum has a gastrointestinal tract absorption rate of less than 1%. This number is suspected to be even lower in aluminum silicate as the body’s ability to fully break down silica is up for debate. This means that your body is going to absorb, at the most, less than 1% of a substance that makes up 0.0139% of Real Salt—that’s about 0.000139%, or 1/10,000 of a percent.

Per ¼ teaspoon serving, Real Salt contains 0.194 mg of aluminum. For context, most adults consume between 1 and 10 milligrams of aluminum daily, to no ill effect. You will find aluminum in spinach, tea, most baked goods, some types of fish, and many vegetables. Meat, eggs, and fresh fruit also contain it. Because of its abundance in the earth’s crust, it is present in many of our food sources—including the natural, organic, and cleanly produced ones.


Possibly the most comforting bit of information on this topic is the intelligence of the human body. According to this paper on the safety of dietary aluminum, “The healthy human body has effective barriers (skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract) to reduce the systemic absorption of aluminum ingested from water, foods, drugs, and air. The small amount of aluminum (<1%) that is systemically absorbed is excreted principally in the urine and, to a lesser extent, in the feces. No reports of dietary aluminum toxicity to healthy individuals exist in the literature.” Our bodies are better at protecting us than we sometimes give them credit for.

If you’ve been wondering about the safety of aluminum in natural sea salt, we hope these points will prove useful in helping you make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019791
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11259180
  3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/403282-aluminum-in-your-diet/
  4. http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=ps_facpub
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21157018

Real Salt Recipe: Sweet + Salty Roasted Chickpeas

By | Dinner, Lunch, Recipes, Snacks | No Comments

This recipe was shared with us courtesy of Julianne at Hashtag Vegan. Whether you’re a vegan, carnivore, or something in between, we think you’ll adore the addictive salty-sweet flavor combination of these roasted chickpeas.

Julianne specifies using Real Salt in her recipe, saying, “A word of warning: this won’t be nearly as delicious if you are using regular table salt. Since the salt is such a major component of the flavor in this recipe, make sure to use Real Salt!” She goes on to say, “It seriously has a better and deeper flavor than regular salt which makes it perfectly amazing in everyday cooking.” We love it when others experience the Real Salt difference, and we think this recipe is a great way to showcase it. 

SWEET & SALTY ROASTED CHICKPEAS

 

Serves: 1 – 4 people, depending on use

INGREDIENTS

1 can chickpeas (drained, rinsed, and dried)

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil will work too)

1/2 tsp real maple syrup

1/8 tsp Real Salt (+ a little more to taste)

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.

Dry the chickpeas and remove the skins if preferred.  If they need further drying, place them on a baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes while the oven is pre-heating.

In a bowl, toss chickpeas and oil together. Put them back on the baking sheet (with or without some parchment paper).

Bake 12-15 minutes or until they are warm all the way through.

Remove from oven, transfer to bowl and toss with maple syrup, Real Salt, and dried rosemary until evenly coated. (If your rosemary pieces are large, you may want to crumble or crush them.) 

Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

For warm, soft chickpeas, remove at 15 minutes. For crispier ones, bake for 20-25 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning. 

For additional crunch, turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and leave the chickpeas in for another 10 minutes or so.

Add another pinch of salt when they are done if desired. Serve over a salad, over a grain bowl, as a dinner side, or as a crunchy snack on the go! Enjoy!

Like this recipe? Check it out along with the rest of the goodness over at Hashtag Vegan.

 

All photos courtesy of Julianne Hall, Hashtag Vegan.

What Do You Mean Real Salt Comes From an Ancient Sea in Utah?

By | Education | 5 Comments

On a recent weekday afternoon, a concerned citizen took to our Facebook page thinking we were trying to pull the wool over our fans’ eyes. Our claims of sourcing from an ancient sea in Utah, USA, seemed ludicrous to her. She didn’t explain her reasoning, but we’re guessing it has something to do with the fact that a quick glance at a map will confirm that Utah is decidedly not under the sea. So what’s up with that claim, then? How can we source Real Salt from an ancient sea in the middle of a desert? Are we talking about The Great Salt Lake? (Nope, we aren’t.)

When people hear the words “ancient sea” they usually immediately think of, you know, a sea. Full of water. Like the Red Sea. But the term “ancient sea” often refers to a sea that existed in ancient times and has since dried up and created geologic deposits. In what is now North America, during the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, there was an inland sea known as the Sundance Sea.

According to experts, the Sundance Sea was full of marine life and drew many dinosaurs and land-dwelling animals to its shores (where modern day scientists have found a wealth of fossils and dinosaur tracks). Geologists believe this ancient sea expanded a handful of times throughout its existence, in a course of what is known as marine transgressions. “Marine transgression” is a scientific way of saying it rose and covered more and higher ground, flooding what had previously been not-sea.

Eventually, the sea dwindled as the landscape changed. When a sea recedes and dries up it leaves things behind, like the salt and minerals that once saturated its waters. In the case of the Sundance Sea, after it abated the land it once sustained was covered by volcanic ash, which sealed its remnants in the earth, keeping them as pristine and unpolluted as they were in prehistoric times.


Today, part of that preserved inland seabed lies underground in central Utah, near the small town of Redmond. This is where Real Salt has been sourced for almost 60 years.

And there you have it. While Utah is not currently under water, parts of it were in ancient times. The vestiges of it were sealed away for millennia, leaving us with an immaculate source of vital nutrients and unique flavor that we call Real Salt.  

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundance_Sea

http://www.geowyo.com/red-gulch-dinosaur-tracksite–sundance-seaway.html

http://historyoftheearthcalendar.blogspot.com/2014/10/october-15-sundance-sea-and-island-in.html

Has Real Salt Sea Salt Been Contaminated By Plastic?

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Plastic is everywhere, and that’s becoming a problem. There’s growing concern about the prevalence of plastic and its impact on our planet in ways we might not have foreseen. We now have evidence that plastic is making its way into our food sources, and a recent article in The Guardian shines a light on research showing plastic in sea salt.

As you can imagine, as a result of this, we’ve been fielding questions from customers worried that Real Salt has been affected. Before we dig into the issue, we want to state unequivocally that Real Salt natural sea salt is not and cannot be affected by plastic contamination. Understanding the concern with sea salt will help you see why this is the case.

The Guardian article reveals that researchers in Spain have declared that “sea products are irredeemably contaminated by microplastics,” an edict that is somewhat alarming. One sea product is of course sea salt. Recently, a study conducted at the University of Minnesota showed that Americans could be ingesting a surprising amount of plastic microparticles from sea salt if they are following the recommended dietary guidelines for sodium—and as you probably know, the vast majority of Americans are getting a lot more salt than that. While no one concretely knows the effects of ingesting plastic, it seems like it’s probably not a particularly good thing.

According to The Guardian, “Some researchers, such as Mason, now believe sea salt could be more vulnerable to plastic contamination because of how it is made, through a process of dehydration of sea water.”

The aforementioned Mason is Sherri Mason, the scientist who led the University of Minnesota research. She is interviewed in the piece. She is quoted as saying, “It is not that sea salt in China is worse than sea salt in America, it’s that all sea salt—because it’s all coming from the same origins—is going to have a consistent problem…I think that is what we’re seeing.”

While we have a great respect for science, Mason got that part wrong. All sea salt does not come from the same origins. Source matters, especially in this case. While many sea salts are made by dehydrating sea water as Mason says, not all is. Real Salt natural sea salt is harvested from an ancient seabed. The sea existed during the Jurassic Period, long before plastic and other modern pollutants existed, and then receded. Its remnants were buried under protective volcanic ash that kept it entirely unpolluted and unchanged for millions of years. You can learn more about that here. Because it is not sourced from a current ocean, our changing way of life doesn’t affect the cleanliness and purity of Real Salt unrefined sea salt. We also use clean mining techniques to harvest Real Salt, employing hydraulic-powered stainless steel rotary tools and no explosives (learn more about that here), further protecting it from contamination..

If you are concerned about ingesting plastic from sea salt, we suggest you switch to Real Salt ancient natural sea salt. Unspoiled by the pollution we humans create and mined in America with an awareness of environmental impact, it’s a safe choice now and always.

Real Salt Recipe: Salted Garlic Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

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In need of an easy and fast high-protein dinner that’s also delicious? Salted Garlic Rosemary Beef Tenderloin fits the bill.  Tenderloin, the section of beef that filet mignon comes from, is prized for being both tender and lean. It is best when cooked quickly over high heat and without much fussjust like this recipe calls for.

SALTED GARLIC ROSEMARY BEEF TENDERLOIN

Serves 2-4   
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb beef tenderloin
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 c  Real Salt natural sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 435° F, heat cast iron skillet to high heat.

Finely chop rosemary.

In a small bowl, mix salt, finely chopped rosemary, and minced garlic together. Massage salt mixture into the beef, covering all sides evenly.    

In cast iron skillet, sear each side of the beef.

Transfer to oven. Bake at 435° F for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145° F. For more well done meat, cook until desired doneness is achieved.

Allow to rest in warm place for a few minutes prior to slicing. Serve with asparagus, as pictured, or your favorite accompaniments. 

Real Salt Recipe: Garlicky Tequila Shrimp

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We advocate eating iodine-rich foods instead of relying on salt for that piece of your nutrition, so this Garlicky Tequila Shrimp recipe made using Real Salt is right up our alley. Shrimp is a great source of naturally-occurring iodine, which is the kind your body is best able to absorb. Brought to us by Natasha from The Fiesty Kitchen, this fresh and zesty take on shrimp features tequila, jalapeño, and lime. It’s perfect for tacos, salads, or eating all by itself.

GARLICKY TEQUILA SHRIMP

 

Preparation 5 minutes  

Cook Time 7 minutes 

Total Time 12 minutes

Serves 2-4   

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb wild caught, sustainable shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce tequila blanco
  • 1 tbsp triple sec
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Redmond Real Salt natural sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium bowl, add all ingredients except for the cilantro, using 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir to combine.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat then add olive oil. Cooking in 2 batches, add shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 1.5 to 2 minutes then flip over and cook an additional minute. Shrimp should turn pink and opaque in color.

Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with fresh cilantro and add extra sea salt to taste if it needs more.

Enjoy these in tacos, taco salads, as appetizers or any which way you want! 

Like this recipe? Check out more from Natasha over on her website, The Fiesty Kitchen.

 

All photos courtesy of Natasha, The Feisty Kitchen. 

Questions? Call us! (800) 367-7258