What Is Green Salt?
Attention everyone, there's a newcomer in the salt aisle. Say hello to Green Salt, a plant-based salt alternative from Baja California. This green salt (yes, it's not only called Green Salt but also green in color) has less sodium than regular salt. But is it really better for you? Here we'll break down exactly what Green Salt is, how it's made and whether it really is a healthier alternative. Plus, we'll tell you how to use it and where you may buy it.
What Is Green Salt?
Green Salt is made by dehydrating Salicornia and grinding it into a powder. Salicornia is a halophyte—a plant that can grow in salty conditions. It's also known by many other names, such as pickleweed, glasswort, hamcho, samphire and perhaps most commonly as sea beans or sea asparagus. You can find it naturally growing in salty estuaries and marshes around the world. Although it's not very well known in the U.S. outside of high-end cocktails bars and fine-dining restaurants, Salicornia has been cultivated and eaten for centuries in Europe and Asia, especially in Korea. It's traditionally eaten fresh, cooked or pickled, and it's known for its succulent, crunchy texture, salty taste and nutritious profile.
Green Salt is produced in Baja California, Mexico, by the Noriega family, who have been growing Salicornia for two decades.
What Does Green Salt Taste Like?
Green Salt tastes both salty and savory. It has a umami quality that some describe as seafood-y. It is green in color thanks to the presence of chlorophyl.
How to Use Green Salt
According to the makers of Green Salt, it can be used interchangeably with regular salt in both cooking and baking. However, since Green Salt has less sodium than regular salt, you may need to use twice the amount to achieve the same level of saltiness in your dish.
Although Green Salt can be used as a direct substitute for regular salt, Rick Mindermann, director of one of California's most influential gourmet stores, Corti Brothers, recommends using it mostly as finishing salt. This is because anything cooked with Green Salt will turn slightly green, and depending on what kind of dish you're making, the salt may not dissolve completely. One of Mindermann's favorite ways of using Green Salt is simply sprinkling it on top of rice like Carolina Gold or a fragrant basmati. It also pairs beautifully with seafood due to its umami quality.
Is Green Salt Healthy?
Green Salt has 50% less sodium than salt—it contains 20% sodium by weight versus 40% for regular salts like kosher and sea salts. So, if it's important to you to follow a low-sodium eating pattern, using Green Salt in place of regular salt may be healthier for you. (Consult you doctor if you have any underlying health conditions before incorporating Green Salt into your eating pattern.)
Is Green Salt Sustainable?
According to the Noriega family, their farm, where Green Salt is produced, is 100% organic. Their Salicornia is grown on land that cannot be used to cultivate other produce. They also use seawater to grow their crop instead of fresh water. Due to the increased scarcity of fresh water and arable land, Salicornia is a naturally eco-conscious product. Solar power is used to dehydrate the harvested Salicornia, and the salt is packaged in recyclable or biodegradable options whenever possible.
Who Should Buy Green Salt and Where to Find It
For those looking to reduce their sodium intake, Green Salt may be a viable alternative. Aside from customers who are trying to cut back on salt for health reasons, Mindermann says he has also seen interest from younger foodies who enjoy cooking and are adventurous eaters.
It may be time to expand your salt horizons and give Green Salt a try. It can be used as a direct substitute for salt in recipes, but due to the lower sodium content, you may have to use double the quantity to achieve the same level of saltiness in a given dish. Also, keep in mind that depending on the recipe, Green Salt could impart a slight green tint to your food. If you want to avoid that, we suggest using it as a finishing salt only. If you're interested in trying it out, we recommend experimenting with Green Salt in this herbed Cauliflower Rice or as a topper to this Salmon Rice Bowl.