Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Trader Joe's Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals

Right after the Asheville Trader Joe's had its grand opening last September, I decided to do a gimmicky thing for my next weekly dinner date with Nina: I would prepare a meal in which absolutely everything came from TJ's--right down to the milk, butter, and other staple ingredients. Naturally, that had to include the condiments on the table. That's why I was looking for salt, which I otherwise didn't need to buy.

If I were doing the same thing now, it wouldn't surprise me that TJ's has several different kinds of funky salt, but it did then. This one looked the most interesting and elegant, so I bought it.

What can I say about it? It's salt. Whatever trace minerals it has in it that turn it pink don't affect the taste in any way that I can detect, and I seriously doubt that they have any meaningful health effects. The way I see it, the only reason to have this stuff is as a fancy little dinner-table conversation piece. Which it is--especially as guests try to figure out how to make the built-in grinder work. (It's not difficult, but it's also not obvious.)

I put out the pretty pink salt when I have dinner guests. For myself, I rarely add salt to my food (less than once a week, on average), but when I do, it's Wal-Mart salt in a Wal-Mart salt shaker. Blindfold me, and I can't tell the difference between that stuff and what you see above.

Will I buy it again? 

I won't be faced with that decision for many, many years. I've had this container for almost a year, and it doesn't look any less full than it did the day I bought it. In 20 years or so, when it's getting empty, I'll let you know what I decide to replace it with. If TJ's still exists, and if they still sell this same product, and if I'm still making dinner for guests, maybe I'll buy another one to last me up until my mid-90s, after which, actuarially speaking, I won't have to worry about it anymore.

But wait, there's more! 

I emailed the above to Nina, hoping that she would add her observations. She has a far wider range of experience with food than I do. Just as importantly, she tends to pay a lot more attention to matters of taste and texture than has been my habit.

She indulged me with her additional comments, not only for this item, but for another blog post yet to come. For the items that we have tried together (which is a large percentage of them, but not all), I hope that you'll often get her opinion thrown in with mine at no additional charge to you, the reader! 

So without further ado, I give you...

Nina's view 

It's pretty. As Bob said, you can have a conversation about the Himalayas. And salt. And woo.

The only advantage I can see to it is that it produces larger crystals of salt (like Kosher salt) than typical table salt fine granules. This gives an extra burst of crunchy saltiness, which can be nice for some dishes.

Kosher salt is probably cheaper, but it's not pink.

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