What Is Himalayan Sea Salt?
Learn all about this pretty pink salt that has taken millennial kitchens by storm.
Pink salt is everywhere. Not only has it become a popular choice of home decor (cue the salt lamps), but it's now being used for anything from cooking steak to a form of spa treatment known as "salt therapy."
But at the end of the day, it's salt. And it has taken millennial and Gen-Z home cooks by storm (speaking as one myself). So, how is this salt made? Why is it pink? And is it any better than other types of salt? Here's everything you need to know about Himalayan Salt.
What Is Pink Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan sea salt is a type of rock salt that is naturally pink in color. It is mined from the Punjab region of Pakistan, on the foothills of the Himalayas. Its natural pink hue comes as a result of the trace amounts of iron oxide (rust) in the salt.
It often comes in larger crystals than table salt, which means it actually contains less sodium than table salt per teaspoon.
Himalayan Salt vs. Other Types of Salt
The difference between Himalayan salt and other types of salt largely comes down to visual appeal. There is little to no difference in taste. However, because the Himalayan salt often comes in larger crystals, it is said to have more of a salty flavor than table salt (similar to regular sea salt).
Benefits of Himalayan Salt
While no studies have compared the health effects of pink Himalayan Salt to regular table salt, some still claim that Himalayan salt is the healthy alternative. Unfortunately, there's just not a lot of evidence to prove that.
Himalayan Salt Health Myths
- Himalayan sea salt is mineral rich. Only about two percent of Himalayan salt is made up of minerals. You'll likely be consuming it at a relatively limited quantity, so it's unlikely that you will receive any measurable benefits from these trace amounts of minerals.
- Himalayan sea salt is lower in sodium. Yes, Himalayan salt has less sodium than table salt per teaspoon, but this is only due to the fact that pink Himalayan salt often comes in larger crystals. Both Himalayan salt and regular table salt have approximately 98 percent sodium chloride.
While we've debunked a couple common health claims associated with Himalayan salt, there is some merit to the claim that it is a more "natural" form of salt. Table salt goes through a heavy refinement process, and is often mixed with anti-caking agents to prevent clumping. If you're looking to avoid these additives, Himalayan pink salt does make a good alternative.
How to Use Himalayan Salt
You can use Himalayan salt any way you would use table salt. However, keep in mind that because Himalayan sea salt has a saltier flavor than table salt, you should use less salt per serving to achieve the same flavor.
While you can use Himalayan salt anyway you want, I recommend saving it for times when it will add a visual appeal to your dish. Due to its high price point, you're better off saving it for special occasions and using table salt for anything else. Try using it at a finishing salt for chocolate truffles or meringue. Himalayan salt can be found in speciality or health food stores, some grocery stores, and online.