What’s the Difference Between Sea Salt, Kosher Salt, and Table Salt?

Brette Warshaw wrote . . . . . . . . .

Salt, as we learn in high school, is just NaCl: a compound made from numbers 11 and 17 on the periodic table, a material so simple that it’s treated as the most basic example of how chemistry works. So why, in real life, is salt so complicated? Why is the molar mass of NaCl taught to fidgety teens instead of the differences between the various salts we consume every day? Luckily, What’s the Difference is here to step in where your AP Chem teacher failed you.

Let’s start with table salt. Table salt is made of small, regular, cubic crystals and is usually mined from underground rock-salt deposits (rather than gathered from sea water). As much of 2% of its weight is made up of additives that keep the salt crystals from sticking together—including silicon dioxide, which is used in glass and ceramics—and then more additives to keep those additives from sticking together. It’s also the densest of the salts, which makes it the slowest to dissolve—and when it does dissolve, those additives can make something like a brine look and taste murky.

On the other side of the purity spectrum is kosher salt, which is relatively more pure than the other salts on the market. Kosher salt can come from either salt mines or the sea, and it was originally used in the koshering process of meats; the salt would remove impurities and draw the blood out of whatever animal was meant to be koshered. Lots of cooks now use kosher salt in all kinds of cooking; its coarse, uniform texture makes it easy to grab, and at around $1 per pound, it’s inexpensive.

A note about kosher salt: the two top brands on the market, Diamond Crystal and Morton, behave very differently. Morton is much denser than Diamond Crystal, and therefore a volume measurement (like, say, a tablespoon) will be “saltier” than DC. Morton also takes longer to dissolve, which makes it easier to over-salt a dish with it; if you taste a dish right after salting it, it won’t taste as salty as it will be when all the salt dissolves. When given the choice, then, many cooks typically prefer Diamond Crystal over Morton.

Moving on: sea salts, as their name implies, come from the sea; they’re produced through the evaporation of sea water or water from saltwater lakes. They often contain natural minerals, like magnesium and calcium, as well as teensy bits of natural sediments that can affect their color: think Hawaiian pink salt or French sel gris. Sea salt can come in various coarseness levels—and on the coarser end, the crystals can be irregular, making them better for garnish or texture rather than for workhorse-cooking.

If you’re looking for even fancier crystals, there’s also flake salt and fleur de sel. Flake salt, like Maldon, comes in flat, extended flakes rather than granules; those flakes are made either through evaporation or by rolling out granulated salts by machine. And fleur de sel is specifically made from the crystals that form on the sea-salt beds in central or Western France, when the humidity and breeze are just right; they’re scooped off of the surface just before they have the chance to dunk beneath the water. Sounds like fancy salt production, yes, and like a dream vacation, too.

Source: What’s the Difference


DuPont Lunches Plant-based Egg White

Katherine Durrell wrote . . . . . . . . .

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is launching its Grinsted Plant-Tex egg white replacement system, with three different formulae appropriate for vegan alternatives to burger patties, cooked sausages and cold cuts. Plant-Tex is touted as being cholesterol and allergen free, as well as naturally sourced. The egg white replacement system is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with products manufactured with Plant-Tex expected to reach the market by Q3 or Q4 this year and a worldwide roll out planned for 2020.

“This is a very fast growing and innovative market, and Plant-Tex products are very much designed around what customers have been asking us for,” Linda Yvonne Friis, Global Business Development Manager, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Plant-Tex is currently available in three different forms. Plant-Tex MA1201 for burger patties increases protein content and improves juiciness and umami flavor, while also being lower in salt. Plant-Tex MA1301 for cooked sausages aids shape maintenance and mimics the “snappy” bite of cooked sausages, both hot and cold. Plant-Tex MA1110 for cold cuts gives vegan deli ham an authentic taste and texture.

“We have very strong sensory capabilities that helped us to line up our solutions with consumer ‘drivers of liking’, and working closely with customers always tends to keep us on track and moving at pace,” Friis adds.

However, she explains that there were some specific technical challenges to overcome, such as achieving the right texture. “The goal on these types of projects is to deliver the optimum overall experience rather than fixing just one particular issue. For example, a good meat-alternative sausage deserves a good meat-alternative casing,” explains Friis.

She adds that fortuitous timing aided product development, with Dupont having recently brought in additional texturant product lines relevant to plant-based foods.

The continuing rise of the vegan market

There is a promising market for plant-based meat alternatives, with 37 percent of Americans attempting to consume more plant-based foods, and 46 percent of Europeans saying they consume meat alternatives at least once a week. This has been reflected in new products available, with there being more than a 45 percent average annual growth in food and beverage launches with a vegan positioning (CAGR, 2013-2017), according to data from Innova Market Insights.

“Our research points in the direction of the primary driver for plant-based being consumer’s own health with sustainability and animal welfare being key factors also – and, of course, as plant-based solutions continue to improve, we should see more consumers including some level of meat alternatives in their diet,” Friis continues.

Additionally, she notes that unlike vegans or vegetarians, consumers who seek alternatives to meat occasionally are looking for products that are quite similar to meat with regards to bite, juiciness and appearance. “In many plant-based products, egg white is used as the binder of the plant proteins, in order to approximate meat. This launch is focused on replacing egg white and to get as close as possible to the meat product experience,” she says.

This is not DuPont’s first foray into the vegan market, with its subsidiary, Danisco, offering a line of plant-based products including fermented spreads (plant-based alternatives to cream cheeses), fermented snacks (plant-based alternatives to dairy yogurts), and plant-based beverages (nut and oat). DuPont plans to release more solutions for non-fermented spreads and to produce more meat analogs later this year. “For the meat alternatives, I am convinced that we will see more “whole muscle” type products, more ready meals and more variety,” adds Friis.

The plant-based egg space has enjoyed a spate of innovations recently. In May, Bill Gates-backed Renmatix developed Nouravant, an egg-replacement ingredient created from the botanical building blocks of plants – cellulose and lignin. It offers food manufacturers and bakers a multi-functional, allergen-free ingredient at a “fraction of the cost of current ingredients.”

Source: Food Ingredients 1st

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal

When it comes to sugars in food, you’re far better off having a bowl of blueberries than a granola bar, a nutritionist says.

Added sugars just aren’t the same as natural sugars, noted Kara Shifler Bowers, a registered dietitian at Penn State PRO Wellness, a health center in Hershey, Pa.

“Natural sugars in fruit are different because fruits carry fiber as well as many antioxidants and vitamins such as A and C,” she explained in a Penn State Health news release.

Cutting back on added sugars can prevent a number of health problems.

Women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar each day. That’s equal to just two-thirds of a can of soda or 1.5 dessert-like yogurts. For men, the limit is 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams.

“The only danger in cutting out added sugars completely is that eventually, one may binge,” Shifler Bowers said.

Instead of suddenly eliminating added sugars, it might be a good idea to cut back gradually. Try limiting sugary sweets to special occasions.

“You crave what you eat,” Shifler Bowers said. “Your body can forget about foods, so to speak, so the longer you abstain from them, the easier it will be. You can still enjoy them at times, but you won’t need to eat the same amount.”

Watch what you eat because even seemingly healthy choices such as yogurt, fiber bars, protein bars and store-bought spaghetti sauce can have high levels of added sugars.

“In granola bars, the sugars help ingredients stick together,” Shifler Bowers said. “In spaghetti sauce, sugars are used to cut the acidity. Try snacking on fruit and nuts instead.”

Parents should wait as long as possible to introduce children to sugar, even sugar in juices.

“Their taste buds are still developing, so if they get used to sweet foods, that is what they are going to want to eat as they get older,” Shifler Bowers said.

Children aged 1 to 3 should have no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.

“It’s really easy to consume a lot of sugar when drinking sweet beverages. Instead of juice, try offering children fruit such as melons or berries instead, so they get plenty of fiber,” Shifler Bowers said.

Source: HealthDay

EU Curbs Trans Fats from 2021 to Boost Heart Health

The EU adopted a regulation on Wednesday to curb trans fat amounts in products like snack food as part of efforts to fight heart disease and strokes in Europe.

Industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, like margarine and some hardened vegetable fats, are popular among food producers because they are cheap and typically have a long shelf life.

But given their link to cardiovascular disease, trans fats have also been blamed for more than 500,000 deaths annually, according to World Health Organization figures.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, set the limit from April 2, 2021 at two grams of industrially produced trans fats per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of fat in food.

It said the regulation also requires wholesalers to notify retailers of any food that contains more than the limit.

“The measure aims at protecting consumers’ health and providing Europeans with healthier food options,” the Commission said in a statement.

The European Food Safety Authority and other bodies have conducted studies pushing for the lowest possible consumption of trans fats.

In May last year, the WHO unveiled a plan to eliminate the use of trans fats, extending progress in wealthier countries to those in poorer ones.

Source: MedicalXpress

Read also at World Health Organization Europe:

Eliminating Trans Fats in Europe – A Policy Brief . . . . .

Infographic: Sugar in Food

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Source: FDA

Current Food Label vs New Food Label

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The new food label is mandated to be implemented in 2020. The amount of added sugar to the food product has to be shown in the new label.

Source: FDA