Salt in the kitchen
Most home cooks do not understand the difference of salt or the proper way to season food is one of the most important things to know. Sodium chloride is the main component in salt but there are different textures and densities that affect the dish.
Salt is the best flavor and has vitamin/ minerals for human consumption but too much in a diet is bad for your health. Salt has been on this earth for hundreds of years. It was used as payment in historic times.
Many Chefs keep a bowl of salt in the kitchen on the counter at all times. To properly season food taste the food before adding because you can not take away the salt after you add it. More salt can be added but too much can not be removed.
Make sure to continuously taste the food for depth of flavor add salt one pinch at a time meaning 3 fingers.(Thumb, Index, and the middle finger)
In Asian cuisine, cooks use Tamari/ Soy sauce and even fish sauce in place of salt. In many recipes, the phrase “salt to taste” means salt the food to your preference.
The cook should know how to balance flavor and cook the food as it is intended. Salt balances bitterness, sourness, and sweetness. Consider salting food early in cooking, and taste as it cooks. Some cooks prefer to salt at the end.
Kosher salt Can be used before, during, or after cooking as a finishing technique like extra virgin olive oil. Kosher salt is made up of large flakes; It adds big crystals of salt texture to the surface. It is less refined than table salt; Keep that important fact in mind cooking for your loved ones. Using Kosher salt is less risk of over salting because it is the least dense.
Table salt is processed industrially to be evenly shaped crystals which makes it dense and easy to over salt a meal. It is mined from underground salt deposits. The fineness of table salt makes it harder to spread an even coat. Many use the technique of salting at eye level with this salt. Use this salt to season pasta water.
Sea salt is the least process; mostly harvested in hot, dry, Mediterranean climates.Sea salt retains the natural minerals of the ocean as it is harvested. Sea salt is evaporated sea water. It is more expensive than any other salt.
Iodized salt is commonly used in North America, the iodine added has no effect on the salt’s flavor. It is added to provide the nutrient iodine to people diet.
Specialty salts are mined from the earth with the presence of iron and copper. And blends of spices. Black salt is used in Indian cuisine, the salt gives a dark color and sulfurous taste.
Different salts have different grinds, do your homework and experiment with different brands and types. The taste of salt is the same, the density is what determines the strength.
Salt draws out the moisture in food, So it is useful when you want to sweat onions or carmelize vegetables also for sauteing.
Salt is a natural preservative; Many disease-causing microbes that can spoil food need moisture to grow(FATTOM). They are unable to grow in the presence of salt.
When salt is mixed with water it is called a brine. Salt brines dehydrate bacterial cells and inhibits the development of bacterial growth making it longer to spoil food. Soaking food in heavily salted water is used to preserve and flavor the food. Pickling is a form of brining; it takes longer to penetrate vegetable as they have 2 cell walls to tackle.
Salt creates texture in food when making yeast bread, the amount of salt affects the rate of yeast fermentation and gluten development.
Salt also has an effect on gelatinization in protein in cheese production and processed meat. Salt affects the color of ham, and sausages, hot dogs, and other charcuterie.
Salt is a good scouring agent; Use it as an alternative in housekeeping chores in the house. For cleaning any salt works, Mix dish soap, baking soda, and plenty of salt to make a paste to clean appliances, kitchenware, and porcelain.