Salt is a common ingredient found in every kitchen, but not all salts are created equal.
Two types of salt that are often confused are Epsom salt and Kosher salt. While they may look similar, they have distinct differences in their chemical composition and uses.
In this article, we will explore the differences between Epsom salt and Kosher salt, and how they can be used in various contexts.
So, whether you’re a foodie or a wellness enthusiast, read on to discover the unique properties of these two salts.
What Is The Difference Between Epsom Salt And Kosher Salt?
Epsom salt and Kosher salt are two different types of salt that are often mistaken for each other. While both are salts, they have different chemical compositions and uses.
Kosher salt, also known as kitchen salt, is a coarse edible salt made up of at least 97.5% sodium chloride. It does not contain common additives such as iodine and is primarily used in cooking and food preparation. Kosher salt has larger crystals than table salt, making it easier to pick up and sprinkle on food.
On the other hand, Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral salt that is a compound of magnesium and sulfate. It is not actually a salt in the traditional sense, but rather a hydrated magnesium sulfate. Epsom salt has a bitter taste and is not used in cooking due to its composition.
Epsom salt is primarily used for its therapeutic properties. It is commonly used as a bath salt or foot soak to soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation. It can also be used as a cathartic in medicine, a fertilizer in soil, and an aid in fabric dyeing and leather tanning.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is a naturally occurring mineral salt that is derived from rock-like formations. It is composed of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen and does not contain sodium chloride like Kosher salt or table salt. Epsom salt is not commonly used in cooking due to its bitter taste and composition.
However, Epsom salt has many therapeutic properties that make it popular for various uses. It is often used as a bath salt or foot soak to soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation. The magnesium in Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and can help relax muscles and relieve tension. It can also be used as a cathartic in medicine to relieve constipation and as a fertilizer in soil to provide magnesium to plants.
In addition, Epsom salt is used in fabric dyeing and leather tanning due to its ability to improve color fastness and soften leather. Its versatile properties make it a popular ingredient in various industries beyond just food and cooking.
What Is Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt is a type of edible salt that is primarily used in cooking and food preparation. It is called kosher salt because it was traditionally used to draw moisture out of meat as part of the process of making meat “kosher.” Kosher salt is made up of at least 97.5% sodium chloride and does not contain common additives such as iodine. It has larger crystals than table salt, which makes it easier to pick up and sprinkle on food. Kosher salt is also flakier and coarser than table salt, which gives it a different texture and flavor when used in cooking. Unlike Epsom salt, kosher salt does not have any therapeutic properties and is not used for medicinal purposes.
Chemical Composition Of Epsom Salt And Kosher Salt
The chemical composition of Epsom salt and Kosher salt is different. Kosher salt is made up of sodium chloride, while Epsom salt is a compound of magnesium and sulfate. Sodium chloride is a simple ionic compound made up of positively charged sodium ions (Na+) and negatively charged chloride ions (Cl-). On the other hand, magnesium sulfate is a complex ion made up of positively charged magnesium ions (Mg2+) and negatively charged sulfate ions (SO42-).
Kosher salt is primarily used in cooking and food preparation because it enhances the flavor of food. It is also used in the process of making meat “kosher” by drawing moisture out of it. Epsom salt, on the other hand, has therapeutic properties that make it useful for a variety of purposes. Magnesium, one of the components of Epsom salt, is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions. Sulfate, the other component of Epsom salt, helps to flush toxins from the body and supports healthy digestion.
Culinary Uses Of Kosher Salt
Kosher salt is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen and is commonly used in cooking and food preparation. Its large and flaky texture makes it a favorite among chefs for seasoning meat and vegetables before and during cooking. The size of the crystals in kosher salt is ideal for adhering to the meat and drawing out liquids before being rinsed off without aggressively seasoning the meat.
Kosher salt is also great for making brines, which are used to flavor and tenderize meat before cooking. It can be used to season pasta water, soups, stews, and sauces. It can also be used to enhance the flavor of roasted vegetables or to give a crunchy texture to baked goods.
One of the advantages of kosher salt is that it is easy to control the amount of salt being added to a dish due to its size and coarse texture. Chefs often keep a salt cellar filled with kosher salt in their kitchen or part of a well-stocked pantry, then use the “raining” technique for seasoning: Sprinkle the salt from at least a foot above your food. This ensures even coverage and prevents over-salting.
In addition to its culinary uses, kosher salt has several other uses that go beyond cooking. It can be used to soothe bee stings, defrost car windows, and exfoliate dry skin naturally!
Health And Beauty Benefits Of Epsom Salt
Apart from its therapeutic uses, Epsom salt also has several health and beauty benefits. Its magnesium and sulfate components have been found to offer numerous benefits to the body, including improving skin health, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation.
One of the most popular uses of Epsom salt in beauty is as a natural exfoliant. When dissolved in water, it can help remove dead skin cells and leave the skin feeling soft and smooth. It is also believed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making it an excellent addition to anti-aging skincare routines.
Epsom salt has also been found to be beneficial for those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can help soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation.
In addition to its skincare benefits, Epsom salt can also be used to promote healthy hair. When used as a hair mask, it can help increase hair volume and promote healthy hair growth.
How To Use Epsom Salt And Kosher Salt In Your Daily Routine
Both Epsom salt and Kosher salt can be incorporated into your daily routine for various purposes.
To use Epsom salt, add 2 cups or about 475 grams of Epsom salt to a standard-sized bathtub filled with warm water. Soak your body in the water for at least 15 minutes to help soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation. You can also put the Epsom salt under running water if you want it to dissolve more quickly.
For a DIY nail treatment, mix one teaspoon each of Epsom salt, baking soda, and lemon juice in half a cup of warm water. Soak your fingertips in the mixture for 10 minutes and then scrub your nails to rinse them off. This treatment will soften your cuticles and strengthen your nails.
Kosher salt can be used in cooking and food preparation as a seasoning. It can be used interchangeably with table salt but not at a 1:1 ratio. Morton’s has published a salt conversion table to help with this. Kosher salt can also be used as a pre-seasoning for meats or as a pickling and curing agent.
Another way to use Kosher salt is as a natural exfoliant for your skin. Mix equal parts of Kosher salt and coconut oil to create a paste. Gently massage the paste onto your skin in circular motions to exfoliate and moisturize at the same time.