Of KOSHER, Kosher and kosher, I prefer the first.
April 26, 2012 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to know the size of the kosher salt crystals without opening the box?

I use boxed kosher salt to make my own salt bagels, but I've noticed that some brands have small grains and some large. I would like larger grains! Do I have to survey the brands one large box at a time, or is there a code or industry term on the boxes for what I'm talking about?
posted by rhizome to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
A lot of times the box will say coarse or fine. You'll want coarse, of course.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2012

My current box is Diamond Crystal, which says "coarse" on the webpage (not on the box), but the crystals are actually the smallest of the ones I've tried.
posted by rhizome at 2:02 PM on April 26, 2012

This may sound a little silly, but it's what I'd do: shake the boxes. Larger grains will sound different than smaller grains - you can probably tell the difference with your ear. Shake a few boxes of different brands to compare. Go with the heaviest one you hear.
posted by pecanpies at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2012

David's Kosher Salt comes in clear plastic bottles.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:13 PM on April 26, 2012

In short, no.
But, the finer the grains the less gap there is between them, so for example 1t kosher salt weighs less than 1 t table salt and is less "salty" in recipes.
At a guess, compare all the 3-lb containers, and choose the largest one - but they're opaque, and it's hard to gauge how much empty headspace. Shaking and listening for rattle rather than swish is a good thought too.
posted by aimedwander at 2:36 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm realizing I'm wrong about the weight thing - it depends not just on the size but also the shape of hte grains, so there wouldn't be a direct grain size to packing density ratio.

At smitten kitchen, "1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = roughly 1 1/4 teaspoons Morton’s kosher salt = roughly 1 3/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt" but that's about "saltiness" not grain size.

This would be a great article for you if you had a subscription fo Cook's Illustrated, but unfortunately the punchline is hidden behind a subscription wall.
posted by aimedwander at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2012

Do you need the salt to be kosher, or are you just looking at kosher salt because it tends to have larger grains than table salt?

If kosher production is not a requirement, consider buying "pretzel salt" instead—it will have larger grains than even the grainiest of kosher salts, and they will be shaped in such a way that they will melt less. You can get it at specialty spice shops.

There's a picture about halfway down this blog post for reference (I am not familiar with the blog or the recipe; I just Google Image Searched to find a pic).
posted by bcwinters at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dies it sound more like pebbles or sand?
posted by cmoj at 4:14 PM on April 26, 2012

open the box in the store
posted by Infernarl at 1:57 AM on April 27, 2012

Infernarl: "open the box in the stor"

This is awful advice.
posted by Grither at 4:55 AM on April 27, 2012

A friend used to work a whole foods, and assures me that every employee on the floor is empowered to open a product for a customer to view or taste, and then they turn it in as leakage, or whatever the term is. I would ask employees of a foodie store like WF or TJs whether they know; they probably have come across it at some point, even if just as a spill, or know someone who does.

Also, for all this effort, have you considered making your own large salt crystals (starting with one of the above Kosher brands) and crushing it to order?
posted by Sunburnt at 8:07 AM on April 27, 2012

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