Spice Advice: Himalayan Pink Salt
What’s in a name? For Himalayan Pink Salt, a rather confusing misnomer. The popular pink crystal isn’t sourced from some Himalayan Mountain like the name implies, but rather home to the Khewra Salt Mine—one of the largest salt mines in the world located in the foothills of the Salt Range in the Jhelum district of Pakistan. The pretty-in-pink crystal (also known as white gold) is said to have formed millions of years ago from a sea that evaporated slowly—hidden away for a time by shifting tectonic plates before forming the mines we know and love today. It wasn’t until Alexander the Great came around that the mine and pink crystals were discovered. And if you’re looking for someone to thank, you can forget ‘ol Alex. His horses are the real MVP’s of this salty story. When Alexander and his army stopped in Khewra, they noticed their horses licking stones on the ground, and someone must have thought, “I’ll have what they’re having.” Upon further investigation, the group discovered that the stones were salty. Yum. Enter: Himalayan Pink Salt.
The crystal gets its pink hue from a mix of more than 80 minerals including iron, calcium, and potassium. You can often find Himalayan Pink Salt sold in lamp form or used in spas for their potential health benefits—though studies have yet to confirm. Many believe pink salt can play a role in purifying the air; aiding in asthma and allergy relief, and is thought to be able to have a positive effect on one’s mood. Beyond lamps and spas, Himalayan Pink Salt is an aesthetically pleasing alternative to your average white salt when it comes to seasonings. Mild in taste, we carry both extra small and medium grain Himalayan Pink Salt. Both dissolve easily, making this a great choice for seasoning salads, soups, and pasta. Side-note: The medium grain looks particularly lovely scattered over cookies or homemade crackers.