How To: Use Salt in the Kitchen

October 24, 2012 § 5 Comments

Salt is mainly used as a flavour enhancer like sugar (this is why salty-sweet combos are so tasty, it’s all flavour enhancer), but it is also a mineral/chemical (sodium) which does some fancy shit when you’re not looking. So it’s handy to know when to use it, and how.

Add Salt:

To onions you’re trying to soften and/or caramelise, salt draws out the water of vegetables (or anything really) and will stop the onions crisping up.

Likewise, add it to grated zucchini when you’re trying to get rid of excess liquid.

Don’t Add Salt:

To vegetables before you roast them, due to the above mentioned power to draw out liquid, this can stop veg from getting nice and crisp, this is especially important for your roast potatoes. Obviously, you can (must!) add it after the cooking.

Add/Don’t Add Salt:

To your pasta water. It’s up to you. Just know that all you are doing is seasoning the pasta, it doesn’t contribute to heat, cooking times, how much it sticks together or anything. It just makes your pasta a bit salty. And if you’re going to do this, you do need the water quite salty to have any impact, so use a good tablespoon and for god sake, don’t bother using the expensive salt.

Don’t Add Salt:

To meat more than a couple of minutes before grilling, the water-drawing thing will happen, and some of the juiciness will be taken from your steak. Sad.

Don’t Add Salt:

To dry beans at the start of cooking, it can prevent them from softening. Add it near the end of cooking.

Don’t Add Salt:

To the pot of water you’re boiling potatoes in. There’s no need. I think you just got mixed up with pasta (see above).

Do Add Salt:

To buttered toast. Trust me.

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