Salt plays a very important role in our everyday lives. Often called the world’s oldest food additive, it is essential to life for plants and animals. Salt is one of man’s basic tastes along with sweet, bitter, and sour. The presence of salt often balances one of the other tastes.
Salt is a mineral mostly made up of sodium chloride. It is harvested from the sea and rock deposits. Salt has many uses including cooking. Surprisingly, though, food use accounts for only a small portion of overall salt consumption. The majority of salt harvested is used in producing things like paper, textiles, and detergents.
savour... just a pinch
There are many types of salt available. Most of us keep a box of table salt around for regular cooking and baking. Many cooks prefer coarse or kosher salt as it is easier to pinch and measure. If you use kosher salt you may need a bit more than table salt. Coarse salt is not advised for baking as it dissolves more slowly than table salt. Sea salt is coarser still and some believe it has a cleaner taste. Flake salt is still just salt, but is very nice for finishing off dishes where the salt will show.
More salt facts:
- The word salary loosely translates to ‘salt money’ as Roman soldiers were once paid in salt. The word salad derived from ‘salted leaves’.
- The superstition tied to spilling salt most likely comes from the overturned salt cellar in front of Judas at the Last Supper.
- A typical round box of salt has over 4.5 million salt crystals.
- Adding salt to water will raise the temperature at which it boils and lower the temperature at which it freezes.
- You can stabilize cream or egg whites and increase their volume when whipping by adding just a bit of salt.
- Salt doesn’t ‘go bad’. It is a mineral and the taste doesn’t change, nor will it be enhanced by grinding it ‘fresh’.
- Many historical events are tied to salt including the creation of the Erie Canal, the French Revolution, and India’s Independence from Britain.