Rock salt, also known as halite, forms from the remains of ancient bodies of water in the rocky layers of the Earth’s crust. Rock salt, often known as ‘halite’ in the industry, is an unpolished mineral form of sodium chloride used to make table salt. The evaporation of enormous saltwater reserves, such as oceans or lakes, resulted in the formation of rock salt mines. These mines are around 1,200 meters (3,937 ft) or deeper below sea level. The melting point of it is 800°C (1,472°F / 1,073.15°K), and the boiling point is 1412°C (2,573.6°F / 1,685.15°K).
It usually’s colorless, grey, or almost black, with white or translucent white unusual, but it can be grey, yellow, red, blue, or green, depending on how it’s processed. Because rock salt is a natural mineral, it is not made; it is mined, although it can be treated and prepared for use in various ways. The rock salt formula comprises ions of Na’ (sodium) and ‘Cl’ (chlorine). It comprises 40% salt and 60% chlorine in its purest form.
The purity of it collected from each mine varies depending on the geology of the rock salt bed. It can include approximately 80 different minerals in its natural condition, including iron (Fe), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), and potassium (K) (K). These alien elements give it its unique color.
Clay, fossil trash, and other foreign substances, as well as other minerals, can be found in the rock salt formula, according to research. Because processed rock salt is devoid of all other minerals, it is ideal for industrial use, but it loses much of its natural structure and health benefits. It contains solely sodium chloride, which can be hazardous to one’s health if consumed excessively.
What is Rock Salt?
Table salt and Kosher salt are manufactured by flooding subsurface salt deposits with fresh water, removing the water, and then evaporating to leave the pure salt crystals behind. Evaporation of the salt from saltwater produces a lower amount, known as sea salt. On the other hand, rock salt is extracted directly from the earth and preserved in its cube-shaped crystalline form.
It isn’t meant for human consumption because it includes additional minerals and contaminants, although it does have culinary uses, such as producing ice cream and keeping coolers cool.
These applications stem from the fact that salt reduces the melting point of water, meaning that frozen water with salt will become colder while remaining liquid than water without salt. As a result, adding salt to an ice water bath permits it to reach temperatures as low as 6 degrees below zero (F) without solidifying.
What are the Varieties of Rock Salt?
Some types of food-grade rock salt can be used in brines and salt grinders. However, one of the most common uses for it is to deice roads and sidewalks, as it reduces the melting point of water, allowing it to remain liquid at lower temperatures. Although it is not intended for human consumption, this rock salt can be used to make ice cream because it does not come into touch with food. Similarly, an ice cream salt product is more expensive but is still labeled as not for human consumption.
How to Cook with Rock Salt?
As previously stated, some food-grade rock salts can be used for seasoning and brining. However, ice cream is one of the most prevalent culinary use for rock salt. Ice cream is prepared by mixing milk, cream, sugar, and other flavoring components, then chilling it.
Ice cream was created in a double bowl before electric cold cream makers, with the ingredients going into a small bucket and a giant bucket filled with ice water and rock salt. The little bucket was then plunged into the huge one, and the mixture was churned and chilled until frozen by cranking a handle. You might need to add more ice and salt at times. Some inventions replaced the hand crank with an electric motor, and equipment like these is still available today. If you use one, you’ll cool the ice water with rock salt.
What are the Health Benefits of Rock Salt?
When saltwater from a sea or lake evaporates, leaving behind colored sodium chloride crystals, rock salt is created. It’s also known as halite. Although Himalayan pink salt is the most well-known variety of rock salt, there are several more. Ayurveda, an Indian system of alternative medicine, holds Sendha namak in high regard. According to this belief, rock salts provide several health benefits, including treating colds and coughs and assisting digestion and vision. However, you could wonder if these assertions are scientifically supported.
Here are six evidence-based advantages and applications.
1. May Provide Trace Minerals
- It’s a widespread misperception that sodium and salt are interchangeable.
- Although sodium is present in all salts, it is merely one component of a salt crystal.
- Because of the chloride compounds it contains, table salt is also known as sodium chloride. Both of these minerals are essential for good health.
- Sendha namak also contains trace amounts of other minerals such as iron, zinc, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and copper.
- These minerals are responsible for the varied colors of rock salt.
- However, because the levels of these compounds are so low, they should not be used as a primary source of these nutrients.
2. It May Reduce your Risk of Low Sodium Levels
You may be aware that too much salt can harm your health, but too little sodium can also be harmful. Too little sodium can lead to poor sleep, mental issues, seizures, convulsions, coma, and death under challenging situations. Low sodium levels have also been associated with falls, shakiness, and focus problems.
In a study of 122 people admitted to the hospital for low sodium levels, 21.3 percent had fallen, compared to only 5.3 percent of patients with normal blood salt levels. As a result, even tiny doses of rock salt consumed with meals may help to keep your levels in balance.
3. It May Improve Muscle Cramps
- Muscle cramps have long been connected to salt and electrolyte imbalances.
- Electrolytes are minerals your body requires to maintain healthy neuron and muscle function.
- Potassium electrolyte abnormalities, in particular, are considered risk factors for muscular cramps.
- It may help reduce muscle cramps and pains since it contains various electrolytes. However, no studies have explicitly looked at rock salts for this purpose, and electrolyte research is equivocal.
- According to some human studies, while electrolytes lessen your muscles’ sensitivity to cramps, they don’t prevent cramps.
- Furthermore, a new study suggests that electrolytes and water may not have as much of an impact on muscle cramps as previously thought.
4. May Aid Digestion
In traditional Ayurvedic methods, rock salt is a home cure for stomach worms, heartburn, bloating, constipation, discomfort, and vomiting, among other digestive issues. It’s substituted for table salt in dishes.
However, there is a scarcity of scientific studies on many of these applications. Still, rock salts are frequently used in lassi, a classic Indian yogurt drink. Several studies have found that yogurt can help with digestive issues, including constipation, diarrhea, bacterial infections, and allergies.
5. May Treat Sore Throats
A classic home treatment for sore throats is gargling with salt water.
According to research, this approach is beneficial, but it is also recommended by groups such as the American Cancer Society. As a result, treating sore throats and other oral diseases with its saltwater solution may be beneficial.
When compared to flu shots and face masks, saltwater gargling was the most effective prophylactic measure for upper respiratory infections in a trial of 338 adults.
Is Rock Salt and Black Salt the Same Thing?
Black salt is a rock salt known as Himalayan Black Salt. It comes from the Himalayan region’s salt mines. A teaspoon of Himalayan black salt is a rock salt with many of the same qualities. On the other hand, Black salt is distinguished by the grade of halite mined in the Himalayan region and the spices and herbs added to it. Rock salt is mostly sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, bisulfate, and ferric sulfate, whereas black salt is mostly sodium chloride. The shape of unprocessed black salt is like a pyramid, but the shape of rock salt is like giant chunky crystals.
Ayurvedic medicine has traditionally employed rock salt to improve skin health and treat coughs, colds, and stomach ailments. Rock salts include trace minerals and may help heal sore throats and low sodium levels. If you’re interested in trying this colorful salt, consider that too much of it can lead to high blood pressure. You might, and you combine it with other iodine-fortified salts.
Rock salt is sold in boxes or bags ranging from 4 pounds to 50 pounds at hardware stores and grocery stores. Ice cream salt is a rock salt product typically found in the spice aisle among culinary salts. It is more expensive per pound than ordinary rock salt. Since it’s labeled as not for human consumption, there’s no reason to pay more for it.