Table salt is coarse sea salt, which is made by the natural evaporation of water. It's used for preserving food, cooking, baking, cosmetics, and even as a seasoning in many foods. It's also known as kosher salt, rock salt, or solar salt. The manufacture of sea salt goes back to prehistoric times when people first began drying out fish and other sea animals to use as food. Evaporated seawater is much finer than that of freshwater, which is why the salt form is different.
The content of various minerals is greater in kosher salt than that found in table salt. It's known to lower blood pressure, stimulate the thyroid gland, aid digestion, and even help to speed up the regenerating process of wounds. There is a wide range of potential salt additives, some of which have shown to be beneficial to mankind's overall health.
Salt is refined from rocks and generally processed either by adding various additives or subjecting it to heat and pressure. This removes particles that would otherwise cause issues with the overall functionality of the mineral. One of the most common additions to table salt comes from the way it is harvested from the earth's surface. These minerals are stripped away, often millions of years ago, by means of intense heat and pressure during the harvesting process.
Among the main differences between table salt and sea salt is the way they're harvested. Sea salt is generally harvested using open rods which pull the salt from beneath the ocean's surface, while table salt is usually harvested with closed rods. The latter method removes more of the minerals from the mineral but causes it to lose most of its sodium and chloride content. However, sea salt tends to have a higher concentration of these minerals due to the naturally occurring iron and sulfur in seawater.
Another main difference between the two comes from the way the minerals are transported and processed. Sea salt is generally refined to remove impurities such as potassium, bromide, sulfate, magnesium, and iodine, while table salt is generally refined to remove more impurities such as lead, zinc, and iron. Because of the nature of seawater, however, its brine content tends to Leach out its minerals even more slowly. This provides the consumer with less immediate benefits, but over time it can add up as the extra brine is consumed.
Another main difference between table salt and sea salt deposits comes from how they're harvested. In the case of table salt, mountains are selected where rock pools are located and the rocks are exposed to the open air until they're depleted. Once this happens, the excess rock then undergoes what's called "salt tectonics", meaning it is pulled out of the earth's surface and transported through aquifers. In the case of sea salts, byproduct material from mining the area also go into the process. With seawater, however, the mineral content is natural and more difficult to extract.
As you can see, there are important differences between these two products that range from aesthetic to environmental. As you may have guessed, they're both used for food, but which is better? In general, it seems like people prefer the texture and flavor of sea salt, though people who are less experienced at cooking prefer table salt for its ability to absorb tastes better and retain its crunch better. While both are popular dishes around the world, people have different preferences on where to eat them. Salt is a very versatile product and table salt has some distinct advantages that make it the better choice for most consumers.
So, what is it about table salt that makes it more preferable than sea salt? In short, it's the saltiness. Sea salt doesn't have the same texture as table salt does and its main purpose is to aid in the absorption of certain tastes and aromas in foods. Sea salt is processed to make it lighter and less processed, which means it loses some of its nutrients.