Salt - The Ultimate Food Flavoring Agent and More
Salt, life's great flavor enhancer
When it comes to flavoring food, is there any flavor more simple, yet so necessary as salt? I doubt it. Salt, also known as sodium chloride may just be the number one seasoning out there. Used for centuries, and world over, it is so simple yet so vital. I personally love salt, probably a little bit too much. I want to keep my salt intake in check though, as I know of many people that have had to cut out or minimize their salt intake. I hope that will never happen to me. You can have too much of a good thing, as we see again.
Salt consists of two things, sodium and chlorine. Sodium is an essential trace element for maintaining both human and animal life. There are different types of salt, here are a few. Fine sea salt, black salt, Malden salt, and regular table salt.
Salt and cooking
Whether a sweet or savory dish, salt will bring out the fullest flavor. Its amazing that something with such a strong taste is actually odorless. Many cannot imagine food without salt. Life would be very dull, without salt.
Salt has been used as a natural preservative of meat, fish and vegetables for a long time. Its neat the preserving effect it has. How they figured it out, may be a neat thing to study for another time.
As a mouth and throat gargle, you can't do better than hot, salty water. It is so cleansing and healing. I can still recall my mother saying, "gargle with hot salt water honey, and make it as hot and as salty as you can stand it." It was great advice, and she still gives it today. It definitely helps a sore throat.
Storage is simple. Keep your salt in an airtight container, and away from anything silver. The salt can turn green for some reason when it touches silver.
Types of Salt
Rock salt comes from underground deposits formed over thousands of years. It is formed when inland seas and lakes dry up. Water is pumped into what are called rock caves, resulting in a brine, which is then pumped to the surface. When boiled, the brine crystalizes , and from that we get kitchen or cooking salt. Salt used to be sold as block salt, but it is more commonly a fairly refined.
Often magnesium carbonate is added, to help salt not take in moisture during storage. In rock salt, you are getting larger crystals and some think it even has superior flavor. This salt can be pounded with a mortar and pestle, or ground up in a salt mill.
Salt from the Sea, is simply produced from evaporating the water from the salt . This can be done naturally or by artificial means. Some only like to use sea salt and say it tastes better for both table use and cooking. Bay salt is another way to refer to Seal Salt.
In Indian cooking, there is a black salt which is really more of a dark grey. It has a pink tinge to it, when it is ground. It has a distinctive tang and smokiness to its flavor. I think its sounds like a fun one to try.