Kosher salt is very coarse table salt with no common additives like iodine. Used mainly in the kitchen and not on the table, it contains mostly sodium chloride with a small amount of magnesium and can contain other anti-caking substances also. It is also known for its ability to keep foods from sticking together. It has a unique quality that makes it better than other salts and it is widely used by professional chefs because of its usability and versatility.
During the early days, kosher salt was mainly used for seasoning food. Its use as a seasoning agent brought about a revolution in the way of cooking. It helped the process of cooking by reducing the need for butter or oil to prevent sticking of spices and flavorings. Its properties as an absorbent made it an ideal additive to food products such as bread and salad dressings.
In recent times, kosher salt was discovered to have its uses outside the kitchen. It became very popular in the households of people who were Against World War II. They used it to salt their food and even fought against it. The salt's effectiveness against such elements as chlorine and fluoride brought about its wider usage.
Kosher salt's effectiveness as an antibacterial agent came about after the studies of its effect on staphylococcus bacteria. After it was found that the same bacteria caused deadly diseases in hospitals, it was realized that using kosher salt on food would prevent the illness from spreading. Food poisoning is a major concern during wartime and the authorities made it mandatory to add the substance to food products. With its sea-salt content, it prevented the spread of cholera and dysentery.
More widespread use of kosher salt shakers motivated the introduction of synthetic kosher salt. This was cheaper than natural kosher salt and it had the same effect as the sea salt. Nevertheless, artificial salt could not withstand the same weather conditions as the kosher salt did.
The introduction of synthetic kosher salt shakers met with mixed reactions. Some people were against the change, while others commended it as a more practical alternative. Those in favor of using the synthetic kosher salt shaker argued that the new salt was easier to clean. Unlike natural kosher salt, it was more difficult to remove the stains and other marks from artificial kosher salt. They maintained that the convenience of not having to wash away leftover kosher salt was more important than cleaning the salt shaker to remove stains.
Salt was an important part of Jewish cuisine. No Jewish chef could do without it for kashrut purposes. Even the simplest of meals required the addition of kosher salt. Even unleavened bread required kosher salt for its proper preparation.
For many years kosher salt shakers were handmade by a single-family. Over time, commercial production began. The shakers from these factories are mass-produced with a wide variety of designs, colors, and materials. However, each one is still hand-crafted with the same process and attention to detail. Kosher salt has remained a part of Jewish life and is still the choice of so many Jewish people. Now it can be enjoyed right at home or taken with you when you visit a kosher food restaurant.
Although commercially-prepared kosher salt shakers are available, the old-style "kosher salt shaker" is still the best way to salt your kosher food. Handcrafted kosher salt shakers are also available on the internet. The traditional look and feel of the shaker are not lost, but they have been designed to look beautiful and provide the cleanest salt. There is also the option of a three or four-piece shaker set that contains enough salt for a large family. Most of these shaker sets contain fine kosher salts such as Babbas (kosher salt), Kohar (Hebrew salt), and Masechet (kosher salt with mollusks).
To make sure your kosher salt shaker is indeed kosher, inquire about the manufacturing process. It is rare for manufacturers to use chemicals in the production of kosher salt. Also, no preservatives are used and the salt is not heated at excessive temperatures. The actual salt stone is hand-heated and placed inside the pre-heated drum and then slowly rotated to generate a consistent salt texture that is both kosher and good for cooking.
When you are ready to purchase a kosher salt shaker, it is best to visit a store where you will be able to speak with an expert so that you can learn about the manufacturing process and materials used. You will also want to check with the producer on the ingredients list so that you know what to look for. Kosher salt can be a pricey addition to your kitchen pantry, but once you see how easy and cost-effective kosher salt is, you won't even want to go back to regular table salt! With its versatility, there really is no substitute.