How to Use Salt Properly

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rock salt

How to Use Salt Properly

Unlike herbs and spices, which come from plants, salt is a mineral extracted from the earth or from seawater.

Most salt today is mined from the shores of dry salt lakes or inlets.

Salt is our top source of sodium, a necessary part of your diet that helps regulate fluid levels in your body.

But because salt is so pervasive – used not only as a seasoning in cooking but also as a preservative in processed foods – many of us take in too much of it, causing an imbalance in body fluids leading to high blood pressure.

We need only about 2.4 grams of sodium per day – about the amount in a single teaspoon of table salt – but most of us eat far more.

For that reason, many recipes we recommend use minimal added salt; if you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, you can eliminate it altogether.

If you do use salt, try experimenting with several kinds to get different results, depending on the dish you’re making.

Here’s a run-down of a few options available to you.

Sea salt

The name says it all.

This type of salt isn’t mined.

It’s extracted from seawater through the time-consuming process of evaporation, making it more expensive than table or kosher salt.

It’s available in fine grain or chunkier crystals.

Depending on the grain, you may want to use a grinder or mortar and pestle to get the consistency you want.

Conventional varieties of sea salt are refined and may have additives, just like table salt; if you’re after absolute purity, be sure to read the label.

Table salt

This fine-grained salt is inexpensive and easy to pour; it’s mined and then refined into sugar-size granules.

Iodized salt is a type of table salt fortified with iodine, an essential element supporting thyroid function.

Kosher salt

As the name implies, this salt is used in the process of koshering meat in accordance with Jewish dietary guidelines.

Kosher salt dissolves more easily than table salt and many cooks like its light, flaky texture.

Flavored salt

Flavored or seasoned salts are simply table salt blended with other herbs and vegetable extracts.

Often it’s better to use the herbs and vegetables themselves – chopped garlic rather than garlic salt, for example, imparts a fresher, more pure garlic flavor without the added sodium.

But some recipes benefit greatly from the flavor of seasoned salts.

Making them yourself is easy (and much less expensive) than buying fancy blends.

Rock salt

Even chunkier than sea salt, this unrefined salt is grayish in color and is used primarily as a decorative bed for serving seafood like oysters or shrimp.

It can also be used in your hand-cranked ice cream maker.

Recipe of the Day:  Garlic Salt

Makes 1-1/2 cups

1-1/3 cups coarse sea salt

2/3 cup garlic cloves, peeled but whole

*Use as many organic ingredients as possible.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the salt into a food processor.

With the machine running, add the garlic cloves through the feed tube and process until the mixture changes into a paste, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Transfer the garlic paste to the parchment-lined pan and spread out somewhat.

Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap cut to the same size as the baking pan.

Using a rolling pin, try to flatten the paste to a thin, even layer.

Remove the plastic.

Place the garlic paste in the oven and leave it there for about 1 hour 30 minutes.

The goal is to dry the paste but not cook it, which would change the flavor.

You may turn off the oven and leave the garlic in overnight to be sure the paste is dry enough.

Return the completely dried paste to the food processor and process to a uniformly fine consistency.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Per teaspoon:  0 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 1680 mg sodium, 0 g total carbohydrates (0 g sugars), 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

If you have questions, send us an email.

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Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay

email: – 715-431-0657

from Flavor First by Cheryl Forberg, RD

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