Salt of the EarthWritten by Susan Rutter
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"Salt of Earth!"
By Susan Rutter
©2002 Healthy YOUbbies
Saltiness is one of our fundamental aspects of taste, along with ability to determine if foods are sweet, sour or bitter. The perception of salt is highly personal, based on salt content of one's saliva and how much you're used to using. This influences how you season your cooking and food at table. Add salt in small amounts as you cook since an oversalted dish is difficult to correct. If oversalting does occur, adding a peeled,quartered potato to a soup or stew will absorb some excess salt, or adding more water, bland starches or vegetables will absorb and increase volume of oversalted dish. In less saucy dishes, a splash of lemon juice, vinegar or wine can help balance too much salt. Use of Salt: ------------ Salt has many other functions in cooking other than seasoning. It is a natural preservative that inhibits growth of preserve foods such as cod, and, in past, bacon and salt pork. Salt is added to butter and cheese to prolong their refrigerated shelf life as well as for flavours. In yeast breads, salt controls growth of yeast, slowing rising time and also adds structure to dough by strengthening protein in flour called gluten. Salt is also useful for pickling, helping to create an environment in which harmful bacteria are unable to live. Salt i often used to draw out bitter juices form eggplant and excess moisture from cucumbers. Added to water in which vegetables are boiled, salt improves flavour and raises boiling point of water slightly, enabling vegetables to cook a little quicker. Used this way, salt also helps to retain colour and nutritive value of vegetables. Since salt can also lower freezing point of water, it is added to ice packed around ice cream freezers so that ice remains frozen long enough to set ice cream. Salt Types: --------------- Table: A fine-grained salt that contains an anti-caking agent (to prevent clumping) and iodine. Iodine has been added to table salt since 1920s to supplement iodine-deficient diets and reduce incidence of thyroid gland abnormalities such as goitre. Table salt disperses easily in dry ingredients, making it suitable for baking recipes. Kosher Salt: A refined salt that is coarser than table salt. It contains no additives and is often preferred for its fresher flavour and texture. It is easy to pinch and sprinkle, yet it dissolves quickly. Coarse or Pickling Salt: While coarser than kosher salt, like kosher salt it does not have any additive that might cloud pickles. This salt can also be used for cooking and baking. Rock Salt: A coarse-grained, non-edible salt used with ice to pack around outside of an ice cream freezer to speed rate of freezing. Sea Salt: Obtained from sea, it is sold in a
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