Question: When I go to the store there are many different kinds of salt: light salt, sea salt, table salt, kosher salt, fine, coarse, with iodine and without. It's no longer just Morton Salt. I need a crash course.

Let's break it down into the basics: iodized table salt, kosher salt and sea salt.

1. Iodized salt

Iodized salt is mined from the land, as opposed to sea salt, and has iodine added to it. It comes from the days when people who lived away from coastal areas sometimes had problems with goiters because they had no iodine in their diet. It's inexpensive, commonly available and the one most of us know.

2. Kosher salt

Kosher salt also comes from the land but its structure is different -- a grain looks like a snowflake whereas a grain of regular iodized salt is shaped like a cube. Kosher salt is very light and is less salty tasting because there's less of it per measure. Connoisseurs of salt like to cook with it because it's not expensive and has a pure salt taste.

3. Sea salt

Sea salt is from evaporated sea water and the flavor varies according to where it comes from. As the sea water begins to evaporate, the first crystals that form have a very fragile structure and a delicate, sweet, complex flavor. Taste and try sea salts because you'll find a lot of good ones available.

I find I no longer like the taste of iodized salt -- it burns me -- and that's because I've been tasting these other salts.


 [Ed. note: Can't get enough? Thomas Keller on learning to salt food properly, Mark Bitterman on salt block cooking 101 and Sally Schneider's recipe for Fragrant Tuscan Herb Salt.]

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.