Salt — in an unrefined form — adds flavor, minerals to food
Charmane Skillen wants home cooks and consumers to know it’s not just OK, it’s essential that we flavor our food with salt - as long as it’s not the variety typically found in a restaurant salt shaker.
Skillen is the founder of s.a.l.t. sisters, a Goshen, Ind.-based food products business dedicated to sharing the benefits of nutrient-rich unrefined and unprocessed sea salts.
Her company - named for her four daughters Sydney, Alexis, Lauren and Taylor - offers natural salts from around the world, in addition to rubs and dips hand-blended in small batches made with unrefined sea salt and herbs.
Sharon Carroll, owner of Oakmont Olive Oil Co., a gourmet foods specialty store that features some of the s.a.l.t. sisters’ line, will be the host of a program, “Expertly Seasoned: A Cooking Event with s.a.l.t. sisters,” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Oaks Theater.
Skillen will provide a cooking demonstration, recipes and a small-bites tasting to attendees as part of her crusade to share her knowledge about healthy versus unhealthy salts.
“I’ve been on a health journey for several years to find out how to keep my family and me healthy,” she said. “It was during that journey that I learned about unrefined salt and the health benefits it offers.”
The problem with regular table salt, according to Skillen, is that it is processed, so its minerals are extracted; it is bleached, which can leave behind trace chemicals, and iodine is added, along with an anti-caking powder.
She refers to physicians such David Brownstein of Bloomfield, Mich., whose book, “Salt Your Way to Health,” advocates the use of unrefined salt as an important dietary nutrient and suggests that mineral deficiency in the body can lead to health problems.
“Unrefined sea salt is in its natural state - minerals intact, as nature intended,” she said. “Just like most foods we eat, the unrefined choices are better. Of course, always ask your doctor, but we consider these the healthy salts.”
She also is an advocate for only using salt that is harvested from sustainably clean sources.
Her best-selling product is her Charmane’s Bread Dip, a blend of unrefined sea salt, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and spices that she says works well as a bread dip mixed with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, or as a pasta dressing mixed with olive oil and added to cooked pasta with fresh vegetables and optional cooked chicken.
Both recipes are available on her website, where the dip mix can be purchased. Her other dip mix flavors include Heavenly Horseradish, Parsley Peppercorn, Tuscan Ranch, Zesty Citrus, Chimichurri and Dragon’s Breath.
Flavored sea salts
She also makes and sells a variety of rub and seasoning mixes, ranging from Garlicy Wild Mushroom, Ancho Chili and Caribbean Jerk to Honey Glazed, Key West Seafood and Memphis BBQ. Her flavored sea salts include Black Truffle, Habanero Heat, Lime Fresco, Spanish Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Vintage Merlot.
Her online store features a variety of packaged sea salts and gift sets in assorted sizes and prices.
Several s.a.l.t. sisters products also are available for sale at Oakmont Olive Oil Co.
“I loved the story behind Charmane’s products and her product line fit with our interest of working with family businesses,” Carroll said. “s.a.l.t. sisters recently private-labeled a bread dip for us that is amazing. Everyone who attends the event on Oct. 10 will have the opportunity to taste it and will receive a packet along with a small sample of our olive oil.”