Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Salt - The most important ingredient

What is salt: a mineral that mainly made up sodium chloride. The human blood is .9% salt and it is needed for life and bodily functions. It is essential in cooking AND baking to enhance flavor.

-Table Salt: Fine-grain refined salt with additives. Note: most table salt is kiln-dried sodium chloride with anti-cracking agents added. Trace minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) are removed. This "refining" process is unnatural and hard on the body to digest.
-Kosher: Additive-free coarse grain salt. Widely used in cooking, esp. preserving foods.
-Iodized: Table salt with iodine. Widely used in baking because of the fine-grain.
-Sea Salt: The result of evaporated of sea water -fine and large crystals. This salt is best for your body to digest because it is unrefined and still contains trace minerals. Start cooking with sea salt.
-Rock Salt: "Grayish" in color because it is not as refined as other salts, thus retains more minerals and harmless impurities. Rock salt is used to serve oysters and combined with ice to ice-cream.

We use salt in the culinary world for mainly uses. It is used to preserve flavor and even "cook" food. Mainly food delights come from the benefit of salt: brined Turkey, corned beef, gravlax, and duck confit. We also salt our water when cooking potatoes and pasta to flavor the bland food. Cooking hard-boiled eggs in salty water makes 'em easier to peel.
Salt is used in the pastry world for many reasons. First it slightly enhances flavor to all baked goods, please don't leave that 1 teaspoon of salt out. Leaving salt out of baked goods will result in a slightly bland, overly sweet product and "light in color" since salt also aides in browning. It strengths gluten strands when it conjunction with a gluten flour.

Salt is essential for our bodily functions to...FUNCTION! The FDA recommends approx. 2,500/mg a day. Americans, with our very "processed" junk-food diets, consume about 3,500/mg a day. Let's change that! Here are some health benefits of consuming UNREFINED salt, think sea salt:
-Vital for kidneys to clear excess acidity.
-Preserving the serotonin, melatonin, and tryptamine levels in the brain - essential antidepressants.
-Regulates blood pressure, in conjunction with water consumption.
-Swishing warm salt water will help a toothache and tooth decay.
-Contribute to hypertension.

Face it: Unrefined salt has many benefits for your body and the culinary world. Start cooking with sea salt and less with table-refined salt. The flavor will change dramatically and you will see a difference in your body.

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