Salt is a staple ingredient in every kitchen, but did you know that not all salts are created equal?
Two types of salt that often get confused are kosher salt and Epsom salt. While they may look similar, they have very different chemical compositions and uses.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between kosher salt and Epsom salt, and why it’s important to know the distinction.
So, if you’re curious about these two types of salt and want to learn more, keep reading!
Is Kosher Salt And Epsom Salt The Same?
No, kosher salt and Epsom salt are not the same. Kosher salt, also known as kitchen salt, is a coarse edible salt made up of at least 97.5% sodium chloride without common additives like iodine. It is primarily used in cooking and has larger crystals than table salt, making it easy for chefs to sprinkle on food.
On the other hand, Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral salt that is a compound of magnesium and sulfate in rock-like formations. It has a white, solid, crystalline structure that is soluble in water and is commonly referred to as “bath salt” due to its use in treating ailments.
The chemical composition of these two salts is vastly different. Kosher salt is made up of sodium chloride, while Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate, a chemical identity that other salts do not have.
Moreover, Epsom salt has less culinary value due to its very bitter taste and composition. It is not used in cooking and is instead used for its therapeutic benefits.
What Is Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt is a type of salt that is commonly used in cooking. It is named after its use in the koshering process, which involves drawing moisture out of meat to make it “kosher.” Kosher salt has larger crystals than table salt, which makes it easy to pick up and sprinkle on food.
Unlike table salt, kosher salt does not contain iodine or any other common additives. It is made up of at least 97.5% sodium chloride and has a coarse texture. Kosher salt is primarily used in cooking and is especially popular among chefs due to its ease of use and ability to enhance flavors.
It is important to note that while kosher salt and table salt have similar chemical compositions, they are not interchangeable at a 1:1 ratio. Morton’s has published a salt conversion table to help with this issue. Overall, kosher salt is a popular choice for cooking due to its unique texture and ability to enhance flavors without the addition of iodine or other additives.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is a chemical compound that is a type of mineral compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It has a white, solid, crystalline structure that is soluble in water. Although it has a similar appearance to table salt, it has a very different taste and is not used for culinary purposes.
Epsom salt is commonly referred to as “bath salt” due to its use in treating various ailments. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for muscle aches and pains, as well as for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve skin health.
The magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salt is known to have various therapeutic benefits. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and the regulation of blood pressure. Sulfate, on the other hand, helps to flush toxins from the body and supports healthy skin and hair.
In addition to its use in baths, Epsom salt can also be used topically as a spot treatment for muscle tension and pain. There are even concentrated spot treatment gels available that are formulated with Aloe Vera and essential oils to provide additional soothing benefits.
Chemical Composition Of Kosher Salt And Epsom Salt
Kosher salt is primarily made up of sodium chloride, which is a simple chemical compound that consists of sodium and chlorine. It has a molecular formula of NaCl and is commonly used in cooking to enhance the flavor of food. Kosher salt is also known for its larger crystal size, which makes it easy to handle and sprinkle on food.
Epsom salt, on the other hand, is a compound of magnesium and sulfate. Its chemical formula is MgSO4•7H2O, which means it contains magnesium, sulfur, oxygen, and water molecules. Unlike kosher salt, Epsom salt has a crystalline structure that appears white and solid. It is also soluble in water, which makes it easy to use in therapeutic baths.
The chemical composition of Epsom salt makes it different from other salts, including kosher salt. Its magnesium content is what gives it its therapeutic properties, as magnesium plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. Sulfate, on the other hand, helps the body to eliminate toxins and waste products.
Culinary Uses Of Kosher Salt
Kosher salt is primarily used in cooking and has become a popular ingredient among chefs due to its larger crystals and ability to enhance the flavor of food. The coarse texture of kosher salt makes it perfect for seasoning meat, as it can easily be rubbed onto the surface and draws out moisture, resulting in a crispy and flavorful crust.
Kosher salt can also be used to season vegetables, soups, and stews, providing a more nuanced flavor profile than regular table salt. Its flaky texture also makes it ideal for finishing dishes, such as sprinkling over roasted vegetables or grilled meats just before serving.
In baking, kosher salt is often used to balance the sweetness of desserts and enhance the flavor of bread. Its larger crystals dissolve more slowly than table salt, allowing for a more even distribution of salt throughout the dough.
Health Benefits Of Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is known for its numerous health benefits, particularly for treating muscle aches, inflammation, and stress. The magnesium and other compounds in Epsom salt are absorbed into the skin and work to relieve aches and pains caused by tension and inflammation. Epsom salt also draws toxins from the body, which can help relieve swelling, sprains, and bruises.
In addition to its pain-relieving properties, Epsom salt has been shown to have numerous other health benefits. For example, it can help treat skin irritations such as eczema and psoriasis, and can even help fight off seasonal colds and flu.
Epsom salt baths are also beneficial for people with arthritis. Soaking in warm water is one of the oldest forms of alternative therapy for arthritis, and adding Epsom salt to the bath can make it even more therapeutic. According to the Arthritis Foundation, most Americans don’t get enough magnesium, a mineral that’s important for bone and heart health. Bathing in Epsom salts can boost magnesium levels by as much as 35%, which can help overall bodily inflammation since low magnesium has been linked with higher C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, Epsom salt baths can be used to release headaches or migraines by relaxing the muscles surrounding the skull. This benefit can also aid sore muscles in the recovery period after a workout.
While there are plenty of folk remedy claims about the benefits of Epsom salt baths, there aren’t a lot of studies to back them up. However, soaking in warm water can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints, making it a great natural remedy for pain relief. If you have health concerns, it’s always best to check with your doctor first before trying any new treatments.
How To Use Epsom Salt In Your Beauty Routine
Epsom salt can be a great addition to your beauty routine due to its numerous benefits for the skin. Here are some ways you can use Epsom salt in your beauty regimen:
1. Exfoliating Scrub: Mix Epsom salt with your favorite oil (such as coconut or olive oil) to create a natural exfoliating scrub. Gently massage the mixture onto your skin in circular motions, focusing on areas that tend to be rough or dry, such as elbows, knees, and feet. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
2. Facial Steam: Add a few tablespoons of Epsom salt to a bowl of hot water and place your face over the bowl, covering your head with a towel. Breathe deeply and let the steam open up your pores, allowing impurities to be released.
3. Foot Soak: Add half a cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. This can help soften calluses and relieve foot pain.
4. Bath Salt: Add a cup or two of Epsom salt to your bathwater for a relaxing soak. The magnesium in the salt can help ease muscle tension and promote relaxation.
5. Hair Mask: Mix equal parts Epsom salt and conditioner to create a hair mask that can help remove product buildup and add volume to your hair. Apply the mixture to wet hair and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.