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I'm curious why Kosher salt is not iodized. I understand that Kosher salt is salt used for properly preparing Kosher meat, not that the salt itself is Kosher, what I don't understand is why we can't have a coarse Kosher salt that is also iodized. Does iodizing salt somehow prevent it from remaining coarse? Is potassium iodate somehow not Kosher?

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    This sounds more of a science question than a Judaism question
    – sam
    Commented Feb 25 at 21:54
  • @sam It really is a Judaism question. Commented Feb 25 at 22:12
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact I agree. It may not have a Judaism answer though, just like judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22158/759 , but it does seem fair to ask if there is a Judaism based explanation for this practice.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 26 at 2:21
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Paul and thanks for this first question. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 26 at 4:13

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For normal usage, salt is considered Kosher without any special certification whether plain or iodized, table salt or coarse salt. However, there are concerns with iodized salt for Passover. The general idea of using iodized salt is that through common usage (salt added during cooking, baking and use at the table) the average person will get enough iodine to make sure that they are not iodine-deficient. Kosher salt is a little different in a few ways:

  • It is generally less popular for ordinary use, so "simple solution to common nutritional problem" doesn't work as well.
  • It does not measure the same by volume as regular table salt, so it does not substitute easily in ordinary home cooking and baking (factory-scale cooking and baking is more commonly done by weight) and the texture of the salt is largely irrelevant in cooking and baking anyway.
  • The source of iodine is a concern for Passover use. Rather than have to source iodine, possibly at a higher cost, that is guaranteed Kosher for Passover, it is simpler, and likely cheaper, to skip the iodine.
  • While many people do use kosher salt for the difference in texture in recipes where it doesn't dissolve before eating, the primary reason for its existence is for koshering meat. (It is now used for other purposes as well, but the name comes from the original use.) Meat is very important for Passover. At the factory level (or even your local Kosher butcher) meat is often prepared, including Kashering, year-round to be Kosher for Passover.

The end result is that most people who use Kosher salt (whether for Kashering meat or other reasons) will still get enough other salt in their diet to provide iodine, except for Passover. And avoiding the problem for Kashering meat for Passover where it really matters is enough of a reason to not bother with the iodine in Kosher salt year-round.

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  • "the primary reason for its existence is for koshering meat" How do you know this?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 25 at 22:17
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    @DoubleAA To me this is "common Jewish knowledge". Verified (such as it is) in Wikipedia: The term kosher salt gained common usage in the United States and refers to its use in the Jewish religious practice of dry brining meats, known as kashering, and not to the salt itself being manufactured under any religious guidelines. Commented Feb 25 at 22:23
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    You still have provided no basis for the claim that meat kashering is the primary reason for the existence of course salt. I'm very skeptical of this story you're telling that passover concerns are such a major factor for the entire salt industry that they don't bother with any iodized coarse salt. The link I posted above provides two other plausible sounding explanations (also sourceless): iodized salt has a different flavor that can only be detected in bulk usage, and iodized salt is more expensive to produce so why bother for bulk usage
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 26 at 1:51
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    IT IS IN THE NAME. This isn't about any/all "coarse salt". It is about specifically "Kosher salt", which is coarse salt designed to be used for Kashering meat. That it can be used for other things - topping on a salad, putting on ice when making homemade ice cream, etc. - is secondary. As far as a different flavor "only in bulk", that makes no sense whatsoever to me. As far as cost, yes cost matters and that may or may not be a significant factor. But it isn't "Coarse salt" used for Kashering "as well", it is "Kosher salt" used for other things "as well". Since the basis is "Kashering", Commented Feb 26 at 2:09
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact iirc These days they often use pretzel salt for kashering, not kosher salt, because even kosher salt dissolves too quickly.
    – Esther
    Commented Feb 26 at 14:27

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