You’ve heard us talk about our love for salt, and we honestly think there are few rivals to Jacobsen Salt. Jacobsen Salt Co. is led by proprietor Ben Jacobsen, who strives to create the best finishing salt America has to offer. Harvested from the cold waters of the Oregon Coast, Jacobsen Salt Co.’s pure sea salts have gained much critical acclaim for their beautiful taste, texture, and appearance. Used by chefs and home cooks around the world.
We recently had the opportunity to meet Ben Jacobsen and pick his brain on his favorite topic. Read on for the full interview…
1. How many different kinds of salt do you have in your house?
Currently I have 7: Pure Flake Salt, Jacobsen Kosher Salt, Smoked Salt, Lemon Zest, Stumptown Salt, and our Bloody Mary Cocktail Salt.
2. How would you advise people to think about how to consider the various salts – should we all be using different salts for different kinds of dishes? If so, how?
I like simplicity. Cook with Jacobsen Kosher salt, and finish with the appropriate flake salt. Lemon Zest for fish, chicken, and vegetables, Stumptown salt for cooked root vegetables, and Pure flake and Smoked for general finishing.
3. You talk about salt as an “elemental ingredient.” What does that mean to you? What other ingredients are in this group in your mind?
It’s essential – core to our survival. It’s the only mineral humans eat. Other elemental kitchen ingredients I believe are: fat (rendered, oils, etc.), acid (vinegar, lemon juice), and sweet (good honey).
4. Do you still see a role in the kitchen for basic table salt we all grew up with?
No. I don’t think there’s a more effective way to elevate every bit of food than using good salt. It’s cost effective, and drastically enhances the most simple home prepared food.
5. Umm, what about iodine? Is it in all salt? Do we need it? If we don’t get it in salt how do we get it?
We need it, but it’s in most processed foods these days and also in leafy green vegetables. If you eat a well-balanced diet, you don’t need it in your salt.
6. How should someone you go about discovering the right salt for them? A salt taste test?
Discover what you love by trying a bunch and thinking about what makes the most sense for the way you cook or eat food.
7. There’s a burgeoning artisanal salt works movement in the US – your salt, Marblehead Salt Company, etc. What do you think is behind this trend?
I think we arguably kickstarted the movement. We knew others would follow and we’ve seen a lot of attempted replication of what we do. Our process took 2.5 year to develop though, and our water – the only input – is incredibly special. I think Americans are starting to pay more attention to where their food comes from, and most important of all, quality.
8. What are your favorite uses for salt?
Popcorn, with lots of butter & oil :). Fresh sliced in season tomatoes. Toast, butter, salt. Fried eggs with salt.
9. What is the one thing that most people don’t know about salt?
It really doesn’t have to be complicated – just try using good salt – you’ll tell the difference immediately!
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