Salt is an extremely important ingredient in cooking and its most common uses are in the kitchen and on the dining table. Salt is one of the four major tastes that humans can taste. The fifth is umami, which was first identified as a different taste by Kikunae Ikeda in 1908.
Salt can reduce bitterness.Adding a tiny bit of salt to tonic water can make it seem sweeter. Salt cancels out the bitterness associated with the quinine in the water.
Adding salt to all your cooking can bring out the depth that you don’t even know is missing. Salt actually enhances flavors; it makes any food taste more like what it is. It makes vanilla taste more “vanillier”, and it makes chocolate more “chocolatier”. Salt accents the flavor of meat, brings out the individuality of vegetables, puts life into soups and starches, deepens the flavor of delicate desserts and develops the flavor in certain fruits.
Besides bringing out the flavor in food, salt has many other applications in the kitchen:
Test eggs freshness
Before you crack a rotten egg into a recipe and ruin the rest of the ingredients, perform this simple test: put two teaspoons of salt in a cup of water and place an egg in it; a fresh egg will sink, an older egg will float. Because the air cell in an egg increases as it ages, an older egg is more buoyant. This doesn’t mean a floating egg is rotten, just older. Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it for any strange odor or appearance. If it’s rotten, your nose will let know you. If hard boiled eggs are difficult to peel, that means they are very fresh.
Set poached eggs
Because salt increases the temperature of boiling water, it helps to set the whites more quickly when eggs are dropped into the water for poaching.
Prevent fruits and vegetables from oxidizing
Most of us use lemon or vinegar to stop peeled apples and pears from oxidizing, but you can also drop them in lightly salted water to help them keep their color.
Add a tiny pinch of salt when beating egg whites or whipping cream for quicker, higher peaks.
Soak pecans and walnuts in salt water for several hours before shelling to make it easier to remove the meat.
Add to boiling water
It isn’t true that adding salt to water on the stove will make it boil quicker but, salt does make water boil at a lower temperature, thus reducing cooking time.
Extend cheese life
Prevent mold on cheese by wrapping it in a cloth moistened with saltwater before refrigerating.
Save the bottom of your oven
If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. You can finish your baking and it won’t smoke and smell and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it is cooler.
Remove odors from hands
Remove onion or garlic smell from hands. You can rub your fingers with a salt and vinegar combination.
Prevent cake icing crystals
A little salt added to cake icings prevents the sugar from crystallizing.
Add a few grains of raw rice to salt shakers to stop the salt from caking.
Salt solution is a preservative
Salt is used to preserve many foods, vegetables, meats, and fish
Salt in sweet foods
To balance out the taste of extremely sweet foods, add a pinch of salt.