The only rock we consume on a regular basis is salt. It’s more than just a seasoning; it’s a key flavoring agent in our foods. Other than seasoning, it can improve the aroma of the dishes, balance out other flavors, make the meat juicier, and keep food protected from bacteria and fungus for months or even years.
Salt is one of the most basic requirements of our bodies as it provides the essential sodium to make our internal systems work properly. And it’s there in most of the things we eat to some extent. It’s a mineral that’s mainly made up of sodium and chloride (NaCl). In nature, none of these two elements exist in their pure form; instead, they are found bonded together as a compound of sodium chloride.
Salt is obtained from various sources around the world that give it some distinct properties. You will find a huge variety of salts in the market such as Himalayan pink salt, table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, black salt, and many more. Almost all the salts share the same main chemical composition but differ on the basis of origin, uses, and mineral content. The primary use of all the salts is to improve the flavor of your meals. Some of these salts are also used as a bath salt.
In this article, we are going to explain how does salt makes the dishes more appetizing and why does salt make food taste better? And also how you can salt your foods in the best possible way.
How Does Salt Enhance The Flavor Of Foods?
The main purpose of adding salt to foods is to enhance their flavor, not to just make them taste salty. Many well-known chefs have noticed that salt makes food taste more like itself. Seasoning is all about getting the appropriate balance of different flavors into cooked food other than saltiness which is what makes it tasty.
5 flavors of food are universally accepted and our taste buds perceive them. These include sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami flavors. Salt enhances all these flavors when used in appropriate quantities.
Being a flavor enhancer, salt helps to reduce the bitterness of various foods when added in low quantity. It also increases the sweet, sour, and umami flavors when added to desserts. But when used in high quantity, it decreases the sweetness and enhances the umami flavor which is perfect for savory dishes. Salt brings out the flavor of everything and makes them more palatable.
How Much Salt To Add To Your Foods?
Have you ever looked at a food recipe and wondered just how much “add salt to taste” actually meant? Or sitting in front of a bland and tasteless food — or the worst case, an inedible over-salted mess — and wonder whether it was you who got things wrong or the recipe?
Well, we’re going to help you learn exactly when and how to season your food, and to understand what the seasoning is doing at different stages of the cooking process — so you can season your dishes just like the professionals. The best thing to do is add a little salt in the beginning and then taste and repeat until you get the flavor you want for every dish.
How To Properly Salt The Foods?
You need to season the food for making it more appetizing. But a lot of people really struggle with the proper seasoning of the food that actually brings out the best flavor of the other ingredients. It is very important to add salt to your recipes at the proper time.
Here is the general rule of salting everything at the start of the cooking process and keeping on adding salt as you go. Because salt takes time to enter the food and extract its natural flavors, adding salt at the start of the cooking process is recommended. Simply adding the salt at the end doesn’t give the salt enough time to do anything other than giving saltiness.
When you add salt during the early phase of cooking a dish, it gets the proper time to move into all the ingredients of the dish and season it evenly. While adding salt at the end gives a concentrated surface coating to your food.
For more accurate results, try tasting the food at each stage of the cooking process to avoid over-salting. This does not happen more often but can happen sometimes. So tasting along can help you avoid this. Adding salt using the fingers from a height of 8 to 10 inches is also recommended by some experts. This helps to evenly distribute it and also allows more control over the quantity of salt you use.
Different Salt Grain Sizes For Different Cooking Types
Many salts come in various grain sizes to suit different dishes and cooking styles. For example, Himalayan pink salt is available in extra, fine, and coarse grains that are used for different foods accordingly. For seasoning fries and popcorns, you would need extra fine Himalayan salt that is more like powdered salt. It evenly spreads on all the fries and enhances the flavor.
Extra Fine Himalayan salt can also be used by mixing with other spices and herbs. You can make these spice mixes easily at home. Even a lot of recipe mixes use salt powder to create an even taste. For seasoning daily meals, fine Himalayan pink salt would be perfect. For grinders and shakers, you would need coarse Himalayan salt that can be grounded on top of salads and steaks.
Whereas, kosher salt has flat large grains that are best for koshering the meat. Even chefs like to use this salt for seasoning because of its easy handling quality. So while shopping for salt, you can choose the right grains according to your requirements.