Don’t spend money on “Margarita salt”; most bartenders use everyday kosher salt. Photo courtesy



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September 2005

Last Updated September 2015

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Salts, Seasonings, Herbs & Spices

Types Of Salt Glossary

Page 5: Maldon Salt, Natural Salt & Other Salt Terms Beginning With M ~ O



This is Page 5 of a 7-page glossary of types of salt. Some of the terms below include maldon salt, margarita salt and natural salt. After you’ve read up on sea salt, take a look at our other food glossaries—an easy way to get up to speed on almost  different food categories.

Click on a letter to get to the appropriate glossary page or section.

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A sea salt with unique pyramid-shaped, flaky crystals that comes from the Atlantic waters near the Maldon region of Essex (specifically, the Blackwater estuary) in Essex, England, a salt-producing center since the Middle Ages. The salt is created when the waves from the sea wash up over the rocks and leave pools of water, which are evaporated by the sun, leaving the salt on the rocks. The salt crystals are used whole or ground for cooking seasoning and preserving foods. Maldon is considered to be a good finishing salt that provides a light, delicate flavor. It is also available in a smoked salt version.

  Maldon Salt Crystals
Maldon salt with a magnification showing the unique pyramid shape of the crystals. Photo courtesy | Stephen Upson.


A general term for a coarse ground salt, often kosher salt, used to coat the rim of a margarita glass. It should provide crunch but also dissolve quickly on the tongue. A piece of lime is rubbed around the glass rim to moisten the surface of the rim to enabling the salt to adhere. Margarita salts are available flavored with lime or other fruits such as mango; some creative mixes include chipotle. If you are not using a flavored salt, you can save on buying a special “margarita salt” and simply use kosher salt.


A salt that is slightly damp to the touch, like sel gris (grey salt).


A product made from salt water that has been evaporated in pans by sun and wind winds. Harvesting takes place once the water has evaporated, and it is crushed and ground as needed without further refining (i.e., an unrefined salt).


A salt naturally crystallized in cypress dishes, then set in pyramid-shaped solar houses located on Kyushu Island in Japan. Used as an accompaniment to sweet soy and scallions.


Per the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1984, the FDA established certain regulations regarding salt content labeling. Based on these regulations:

  • For a “Low Salt” claim, a product must have 140 mg or less per serving.
  • For a “Very Low Salt” claim, a product must have 35 mg or less per serving.
  • For a “Salt Free” claim, a product must have less than 5 mg sodium per serving.

For a normal diet based on 2000 calories per day, the recommended salt intake is 2500 mg per day. Salt-restricted diets include substantially less, based on individual needs and medical prescription. Directly-applied salt represents just a portion of dietary sodium: there is salt in prepared foods and salt occurs naturally in some foods.



A salt made form a combination of finely ground dehydrated onions (onion powder) and salt. It is used to add onion flavor to foods, but provides a much more subtle flavor than fresh onions.


While salt is not certified organic by the same standards as botanicals, agriculture or livestock, various organizations are setting up rigorous guidelines for the production of organic salt. They ensure the purity of the water, cleanliness of the salt beds and strict procedures on how the salt is harvested and packaged. Certifying organizations include Bio-Gro in New Zealand, Nature & Progres in France and Soil Association Certified in Wales.

  Onion Salt
Toasted onion salt—a gourmet version of supermarket products. Photo courtesy of


If you have over-salted a dish, adding substances like potatoes to absorb excess salt generally doesn’t work. Better fixes are the addition of sugar, lemon juice or vinegar to mask the salty taste. The best bet is to dilute the salted medium by adding more of, e.g., an unsalted stock or puree.


Continue To Page 6: Salt Terms Beginning With Letter P ~ R

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