Ina Garten Needs Three Salts On Hand At All Times

Food Network's Ina Garten, AKA the Barefoot Contessa, swears by certain products, making sure to always have them in her pantry. From the olive oil brand she favors to the Lindt chocolate she prefers, fans pay attention when the culinary superstar recommends a product.

When Bon Appétit got a tour of Ina's East Hampton, New York kitchen where "Barefoot Contessa" is filmed, they asked her about the products she always keeps on hand. When she shared her list of pantry staples, she had a lot to say about one particular item — salt.

Ordinary table salt won't do when Garten is in the kitchen. She insists on keeping three specialty salts available, each type serving a particular purpose. There is much to learn about the three salts the cookbook author keeps on hand, including what makes them so different and how you can use them to level up your cooking game.

Different flavors and textures

The first type of salt Ina Garten considers essential is kosher salt. Kosher salt's moniker comes from how it has been used to preserve kosher meats; though its well known for its intense flavor and large flake size (via The Pioneer Woman).

Another specialty salt the chef can't live without is sea salt, with her favorite being flakes from the English company Maldon English Flake salt. Not only does Garten love this salt, but it's approved by the Royal Family and a staple for home cooks and professional chefs worldwide.

The third salt the Barefoot Contessa always has on hand is also a sea salt. The French salt is known in French as fleur de sel — the flower of salt. This salt is manually skimmed from the tops of French salt marshes using rakes, a process that goes back twelve centuries (via YouTube). True fleur de sel comes from the Brittany region of France, so look for the name Guérande on the label to be sure you're getting the real deal.

Using the different salts

There's a reason Ina Garten always stocks three different types of salts — each one has a different application. Kosher salt's large crystals take longer to dissolve and can help you control exactly how much salt you're putting into a dish (via Business Insider India). This type of salt is perfect for the rim of a margarita and is handy for cleaning cooked-on food from your cast iron pan, too.

The crystals of Maldon English Flake salt are pyramid-shaped and can be used at any time in the cooking process. although Garten loves the crunchy texture it provides when added to the top of certain dishes after cooking (via Bon Appétit).

Per Salt Spring Sea Salt, Fleur de Sel isn't really meant to be used in the cooking process, just for sprinkling on top of a cooked dish, which Garten likes to do sometimes. It's the priciest of the three at almost $4 an ounce, so you may want to use it sparingly for that reason alone.

All three salts are easily found online or in stores, so level up your cooking game and try them. You might find yourself always keeping them on hand, too.