Which are the different varieties of salt?

Salt is now sold in a variety of shapes and size.

Table salt

It is mostly harvested from salt deposits found underground. It’s iodized, highly refined and finely ground, with impurities and trace minerals removed in the process. It’s also treated with an anti-caking agent to keep from clumping.

Kosher salt

It is also called koshering salt. It is flakier and coarser-grained than regular table salt. Its large grain-size makes it perfect for sprinkling on top of meat, where it releases a surprising blast of flavour. Kosher salt also dissolves quickly, making it a perfect all-purpose cooking salt. According to Saltworks, most kosher salt does not contain any added iodine or any anti-caking agents. The salt is used in the koshering process, when surface fluids are removed from meat through drying.

Sea salt

Harvested from evaporated sea water, it is usually unrefined and coarse-grained. It also contains minerals like zinc, potassium and iron, which give sea salt its special flavour. Sea salt is made into several specialty salts.

Himalayan pink salt

Himalayan alt is the purest form of salt in the world. It is harvested by hand from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Its colour ranges from off-white to deep pink. It contains the 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. Himalayan salt is used in cooking and in spa treatments. You can buy a slab of this salt in the shops in the mountains.

Celtic sea salt

It is also known as sel gris (French for “grey salt”). Celtic sea salt is harvested from the bottom of tidal ponds off the coast of France. The salt crystals are raked out from the mineral-rich seawater and this gives Celtic salt its moist, chunky grains, grey colour and briny taste. Bakers prefer this salt.

Fleur de Sel

The word means “flower of salt.” Fleur de sel is a sea salt hand-harvested from tidal pools off the coast of Brittany, France. Paper-thin salt crystals are cut off carefully from the water’s surface, much like cream is taken from milk. This is done on sunny, dry days with a slight breeze, and only with traditional wooden rakes. This salt is rarely found and needs a lot of work and therefore is the most expensive salt (five pounds of it is 80).

The salt is moist, has a blue-grey tint and is rich in minerals. Fleur de sel is used as a finishing salt to add a dash of flavour to meat, seafood, vegetables and even sweets like chocolate and caramel.

Kala Namak

Kala namak or black salt is Himalayan salt that’s been packed in a jar with charcoal, herbs, seeds, and bark, then fired in a furnace for a full 24 hours before it is cooled, stored and aged. It is reddish-black in colour, has a pungent, salty taste and a faint smell of eggs. It’s often used in vegan and vegetarian dishes to give egg-free dishes the taste of egg. Also used in Ayurvedic practice.

Flake salt

Harvested from salt water through evaporation, boiling or other means, flake salt is thin and irregularly shaped with a bright, salty taste and very low mineral content. Its shape makes the salt dissolve quickly. So this can be used for gargling and oral dehydration therapy.


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What are the interesting facts of salt?

The website Saltworks calls the common salt (sodium chloride) a “timeless ingredient.” And goes on to tell you why.

Salt must have been discovered accidentally, we don’t know when. But there are records to show that in 6050 BC (some 8 thousand years ago), salt was used. Around 2700 BC, in a research paper on pharmacology published in China, more than 40 kinds of salt and descriptions of two methods of salt extraction were mentioned. Nomads spreading westward carried salt, and Egyptian art of 1450 BC records salt making. Phoenicians traded salt with parts of their Mediterranean empire. In all the civilizations, salt has been used for cooking, preserving and in cultural, economic and religious practices.

The expression “not worth his salt” comes from the practice of trading slaves for salt in ancient Greece. Special salt rations given to early Roman soldiers were known as “salarium argentum,” (“sal” is salt in Latin) from which we get the word “salary.” Another theory says the word “salad” also came from “salt”, since early Romans added salt to the green leafy vegetables they ate. In ancient times, salt was a highly valued product, and its production was legally restricted. So it was used as currency. The Bible has 30 references to salt including the phrase “salt of the earth.” Salt stood for purity.

World history has close connections with salt. The city of Tuzia in Bosnia-Herzegovina is named for “tuz,” Turkish word for salt. Salzburg, Austria, has made its four salt mines major tourist attractions. Bolivia’s main tourist attraction is a hotel constructed entirely of salt. In the 16th Century, when the Dutch blockaded the Iberian salt mines, Spain went bankrupt and king Philip II was defeated. Mahatma Gandhi’s resistance to British colonial rule was marked by his Dandi march to make salt.

Portuguese and Spanish fleets used the “wet” method of preserving fish onboard with salt, while the French and English fleets used the “dry” or “shore” salting method. Thanks to this, the French and British fishermen became the first European inhabitants of North America since the Vikings a half century earlier.

In America, the Erie Canal, opened in 1825, was known as “the ditch that salt built” because salt was its principal cargo. Syracuse, NY, is proud of its salt history and its nickname, “Salt City.” The important role of salt in the history of Kanas is captured in a salt museum in Hutchinson, KS. In the American West, a “salt war” was fought at El Paso, Texas.

Salt is an extraordinary ingredient. No kitchen can function without it. Plants need salt to survive. It is a great food preservative. Salt is used in a lot of industries. In the 19th Century, techniques using salt were used to make photographic prints. Salt-glazed pottery is still popular in the U.S.


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Why Mikaila Ulmer is famous?

If you were stung by a bee, twice, around the same time, you will probably run away from them the next time you see them. But four-year-old Mikaila from Austin, Texas, the U.S. became fascinated with them and is today selling lemonades and donating proceeds from her sales to organizations fighting for the survival of honeybees. This is her story.

Two stings and a cookbook later

In 2009, when she was just four, Mikaila’s parents, both with business degrees, encouraged her to come up with a product for an upcoming children’s business competition and for Austin Lemonade Day. She put on her thinking cap and was coming up with ideas when two interesting events happened in her life – in a span of two weeks, she was stung by two bees, and her great grandmother who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent the family a cookbook of hers from the 1940s.

These two moments were to define the path Mikaila was going to choose.

After she was stung by the bees, her parents encouraged her to read up about them and the things they do for the ecosystem instead of becoming averse to them. When she did her research, she learnt about the importance of honeybees and that their population was declining.

That’s when her great grandmother’s cookbook came in handy. Mikaila decided to use a special recipe of flaxseed lemonade her great granny used to make to start her own lemonade stall and help honeybees by contributing proceeds from her stall for their conservation.

This is how her company Me & the Bees was born.

An entrepreneur and a bee ambassador

Mikaila’s company made and sold flaxseed lemonade sweetened with local honey sourced from local beekeepers.

Year after year she would sell out of her Me & the Bees lemonade stall at youth entrepreneurial events and donate a percentage of the profit towards bee conservation.

As the business kept growing, her parents helped her strike the balance between her business and her school life.

In 2015, Mikaila’s business made a breakthrough when it won a contract to supply lemonade to supermarket chain Whole Foods Market. The same year, Mikaila appeared in the U.S. reality show “Shark tank” where she pitched her product to investors. Making an impact, Mikaila found an investor who invested USD 60,000 in her company.

Two years later, a consortium of current and former American football players invested USD 8,00,000 in Me & the Bees lemonade.

In 2015, Mikaila was also invited to the White House by then U.S. President Barack Obama.

Today, Mikaila has sold over a million bottles of her lemonade in the U.S. and is giving speeches at entrepreneurial conferences and workshops. In 2017, she launched her own non-profit – the Healthy Hive Foundation – to conduct research, education and protection projection for honeybees.

Her company continues to donate 10% of all profits to bee conservation groups.

What makes her special?

Her dedication, presence of mind and thought. Despite being stung by bees, she decided to read up on them and help towards their conservation by coming up with a business based on a recipe her great grandmother had sent her around the same time.

Today, even after being in business for nearly 10 years and selling millions of bottles, she continues to donate towards bee conservation.


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Who was Mah Laqa Bai?

Mah Laqa Bai of Hyderabad Deccan wore many hats during her lifetime. She was an archer and an expert javelin thrower, and accompanied the Nizam in wars dressed in male attire. Valued for her intellect, she was consulted in court about political affairs. She travelled with a parade of 500 soldiers when she met officials. As per her wish, after her death, her wealth, including jewellery and land, was donated to homeless women.

Born to Raj Kunwar and Bahadur Khan, Chanda Bibi (her birth name) was adopted by Raj Kunwar’s sister Mehtaab Mah, a courtesan. She grew up being exposed to literature and culture. By the time she was a teenager, she was an expert at horse riding and archery. A talented musician and poet, she also mastered Deccani kathak.

She was a courtesan in the Nazim’s court and held a position of respect and power. For her contributions as a warrior she was rewarded pieces of land from the Nizam from time to time. She was bestowed with the title ‘Mah Laqa Bai’ or ‘moon-faced madame’. During her time as  courtesan, she made considerable wealth, which she used to build libraries, sponsor artists and poets and also commission the Mahanama (history of the Deccan).

A staunch feminist, Mah Laqa also built a cultural centre where she educated and trained young girls. He had a walled compound built to hold mushairas (poetic symposiums) every week. It was here that she was buried after her death in 1824.

There were many courtesan during the Deccan Nizam period but none could parallel the strength and authority of Mah Laqa Bai. She was among the first women whose poems were published posthumously – the ‘Gulzar-e-Mahlaqa” is a collection of Urdu ghazals.

Mah Laqa Bai’s works were hard hitting and articulate here’s an example:

Who has the power to praise God, should a tongue try to speak

It’s as if this world were nothing but silent and weak

To tell Muhammad’s virtue, who needs a poet’s glittering gathering?

Keep the tongue from babbling, like a candle’s flowing wick.

Maha Laqa Bai gained ‘Omrah’ status I the Nizam’s court, which is rarely provided to women. As an Omrah, she could attend the Nizam’s durbar and advise him on state policies.


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Where is Akbariyeh Garden situated?

Situated in Birjand, the Akbariyeh Garden consists of two ancient mansions belonging to high-ranking officials from the Qajar period in Persia. The garden was created in steep, straight lines, with the buildings situated at the top-most part of the garden. Today, the mansions have been converted into museums.

This building benefits from nice view and excellent decorations including wooden decorations, lattice and sash with colored glass, plaster decorations with arabesques and geometric designs.

Due to a lot of reasons Akbariyeh Garden has been put on the World Heritage List. Among all it should be named, the garden has been created in the steep, straight lines have been used in garden design, the building has been constructed on the highest part of the garden, many pomegranate, berry and palm trees and etcetera.

Today, different parts of the complex are used as library, archaeology and anthropology museum, traditional teahouse and also college of art in Birjand.


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