What Is the Difference Between Kosher Salt & Pickling Salt?

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What Is the Difference Between Kosher Salt & Pickling Salt?
Understanding salts helps you use them in the right way. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Kosher salt and pickling salt have very specific culinary applications, even though they are both considered salts. Their chemical properties and textures are different, and they are certainly not interchangeable. Keep both kosher salt and pickling salt in your pantry to leave you with more options when cooking and canning.

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Purpose

Kosher salt can be used to flavour meat, vegetables, eggs and other foods. Originally, kosher salt was created for production of kosher meats in order to remove the blood from the meat faster. Pickling salt, on the other hand, is used to create brines and is used in the canning process for foods such as pickles.

Texture

Kosher salt is considered a course-grain salt. Although it is thicker in texture than typical table salt, it dissolves quicker and can be used in lesser quantities. Pickling salt is similar in texture and weight to table salt and is referred to as a fine-grained salt.

Chemical Properties

Unlike table salt, pickling salt does not have anti-caking properties. That means that there are no additives in the salt to prevent it from clumping. Pickling salt also does not contain iodine. Both of these chemical properties are what help create dark pickles during the pickling process and leave a cloudy look to pickling juice. Kosher salt is created in a similar way to table salt, but during the evaporation process it is raked to create the course-grain texture. Kosher salt does not contain any additives and is simply created from an evaporated water and salt mixture.

Uses

Pickling salt can be used to flavour foods just like table salt, but during the pickling process regular table salt will not provide the dark colour of pickling salt. Chefs and home cooks use kosher salt in place of table salt to flavour foods. Kosher salt is lighter than table salt; therefore, it leaves less of a salty aftertaste.

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