Uses for Salt: Cooking Tips

When it comes to cooking, salt has more jobs to do than just appearing as an ingredient in recipes. It can perform miraculous tricks for improving flavor, preserving food, filling in for missing ingredients, and even making food look better. Salt also can prevent food from spoiling and salvage the occasional cooking disaster. In this article, you will see how adding a pinch of salt here and there during the preparation process may change the whole personality of certain foods. Let's start with fish and seafood.

Fish and seafood: Freshen up the fish just brought home from the market by returning it to its natural environment for a short time. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt to 2 quarts of cold water, then add a lot of ice cubes. Soak the fish in this saltwater for about 15 minutes, then remove it and dry it off before preparing as desired.


To get a good grip on a fish while trying to skin it for cooking, sprinkle your hands with a little salt.

Dairy products: Add a pinch of salt to any plain or mild-flavored yogurt to give it some extra zing.

Fruits and vegetables: To poach asparagus, add salt to the water and simmer exactly 5 minutes. The stalks should all be pointing in the same direction. (Some culinary experts insist the asparagus should sit upright in the boiling pot.)

The unusable portions of broccoli stalks can be served as a snack. Cut the stalks into 1-inch-thick slices, then stir-fry them with salt. They will be ready to serve.

After cutting hot chili peppers, be sure to scrub your hands and nails with soapy water, then soak them in saltwater and rinse. This will prevent the stinging chili oil from getting in your eyes.


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More Salt Cooking Tips

Salt can help remove the gritty dirt that comes with some fresh vegetables. When washing arugula, leeks, or spinach, you should trim them first, then place them in a bowl of lukewarm water. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt, gently shake the bowl so the water swishes around a little, and let the vegetables soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a colander then rinse them thoroughly with water.

Meat: Salt will force juices out of the meat and prevent it from browning. Wait to salt the meat until midway through the cooking process, then salt it lightly. Another option is to wait until cooking is complete, then salt the meat to taste.


Pasta: Adding salt to cooking water is a good idea, but wait until the water boils then add 2 tablespoons of salt for each pound of pasta. If you salt the water prior to boiling, it will take longer to boil.

Seasoning: Sprinkle peeled garlic cloves with a little coarse salt before attempting to chop them. The salt will absorb the garlic's juice and then dissolve, which will help spread the garlic flavor further.