Also Known as
Namak, Mithu, Table salt
Sodium chloride or common salt is the chemical compound NaCl. Salt occurs naturally in many parts of the world as the mineral halite and as mixed evaporites in salt lakes. Seawater has lots of salt. Sodium chloride crystals are cubic in form. Table salt consists of tiny cubes tightly bound together through ionic bonding of the sodium and chloride ions. It varies in color from colorless, when pure, to white, gray or brownish, typical of rock salt (halite).
Salt is not only critical to your life, but it is one of the basic elements of which your body is made. Like true lovers, the relationship between salt and your health is so intricately involved as to make them impossible to be disentangled or untied. Without salt, you could not exist for a moment. At the fundamental level of the physical body, you are a walking, breathing, salty ocean.
This is the common salt normally found on every table. It is a fine-ground, refined rock salt with some additives to keep it free-flowing. Smaller particles mean more particles per measure and more surface area than coarser grinds. As such, use about half the amount if you are substituting for coarse salt.
Garlic salt Garlic salt is a flavored salt used as food seasoning made of a mixture of dried ground garlic and table salt with an anti-caking agent. It is used as a substitute for fresh garlic, for example in burgers or chili. It should not be mistaken with minced garlic, granulated garlic, or garlic powder, which are just ground dried garlic, also sold as spices. Ground garlic can be made into garlic salt by pouring it into a bowl with salt and pouring humectant on it. salt is considered a spice or an herb and spice mixture. It contains powdered garlic, regular table salt, and an ingredient to keep the mix from clumping, usually called a humectant. Common humectants in garlic salt include calcium silicate, and occasionally you'll find the salt with a few other herbs like parsley, or as part of an herb or grill seasoning mix. You'll easily locate garlic salt in most grocery stores in the spice or seasonings section of the store. This salt is a great benefit to cooks, since it allows for lots of flavor without imparting extra volume or weight to dishes. For instance, you can use garlic salt in hamburger or homemade sausage mix for additional flavor. You can sprinkle it into stuffing, add it to stews or soups, or put a bit on popcorn. You should read labels carefully on this seasoning, since some variants contain MSG, to which many people are sensitive. If you are concerned about preservatives in this seasoning, consider buying organic varieties, which tend to contain more naturally based humectants. Either organic or regular versions can last a long time, and be a great way of making over recipes and adding extra flavor.
Regular salt seasoned with herbs and spices: onion salt, basil salt, celery salt and even flowers. Single or multiple herbs and spices are added to salt to make garlic salt, onion salt, and other mixes. If you are watching your salt intake, you are better off using the unsalted powdered or dried herbs and spices and controlling the salt as a separate ingredient. The main ingredient in seasoned salt is, after all, salt.
Salt which has iodine (sodium iodide) added. Iodine is a mineral necessary to the body to prevent hypothyroidism and some countries actually require iodine added by law. For those who live in areas away from oceans, iodized salt is an easy way to get this necessary nutrient into the diet. Surprisingly, iodized salt contains a small amount of sugar (usually indicated as dextrose in the ingredients listing), without which the salt would turn yellow due to oxidation of the iodine.
This is the expensive type. It is harvested via a 2,000 year-old method of solar evaporation from the waters of the Celtic Sea marshes in Brittany, France. Its flavor is described as mellow with a salty, yet slightly sweet taste. Even more expensive and rare this is said to form only when the wind blows from the east.
This fine-grained salt has no additives and is generally used in brines to pickle foods. Unlike table salt, the lack of additives will help keep the pickling liquid from clouding.
This super-fine grind (think of the texture of confectioners' sugar) of salt is generally colored yellowish-orange and is used on popcorn for both color and flavoring.
This is a relatively new product. Food coloring is added to salt as a novelty. It does not affect the flavor. One enterprising marketing tactic suggest using colored salt as a condiment on the table for those who wish to cut back on salt intake. The coloring makes it easier to see how much you apply.
How to Select
Salt is available in a variety of types. Choose the appropriate one as desired. Check the packaging date and ensure that it is dry and has no moisture. Its free flow movement best tells about its quality and freshness. It is available under many brand names - plain salt as well as fortified too. Hence read the labels and then purchase.
· Salt serves many purposes. Humans and other animals have an inherent taste for this essential nutrient.
· Salt is the world's oldest known food additive. People use many types of sodium chloride in food processing, cooking or at the table -- at home or in restaurants. Each makes its unique contribution.
· Besides contributing its own basic "salty" taste, salt brings out natural flavors and makes foods acceptable, protects food safety by retarding the growth of spoilage microorganisms, gives proper texture to processed foods, serves as a control agent to regulate the rate of fermentation in food processing strengthens gluten in bread, provides the color, aroma and appearance consumers expect and is used to create the gel necessary to process meats and sausages.
· Salt preserves foods by creating a hostile environment for certain icroorganisms. Within foods, salt brine dehydrates bacterial cells, alters osmotic pressure and inhibits bacterial growth and subsequent spoilage.
· Salt strengthens gluten in bread dough, providing uniform grain, texture and dough strength. With salt present, gluten holds more water and carbon dioxide, allowing the dough to expand without tearing.
· Salt develops the characteristic rind hardness in cheese and helps produce the desirable, even consistency in cheese and other foods such as sauerkraut.
· In baked products, salt controls fermentation by retarding and controlling the rate of fermentation, important in making a uniform product.
· During pickle making, salt brine is gradually increased in concentration, reducing the fermentation rate as the process proceeds to completion.
· Salt promotes the development of color. It enhances the golden color in bread crust by reducing sugar destruction in the dough and increasing carmelization.
· Over-salted sauces can often be helped with the addition of a little cream, brown sugar or vinegar. Use your judgement depending on the sauce, using a little at a time and tasting all the way.
· A bit of unsalted, cooked white rice pureed with unsalted water or broth to a thin paste can also help cure over salted soups or stews.
· For soups and sauces that have a long simmering time, go easy on the salt in the beginning, keeping in mind that the liquid will reduce and intensify the salt flavor.
· Although a pinch of salt added to breads and desserts enhances flavors, do not double this ingredient when doubling a recipe.
· Salt pulls juices out of vegetables. This is a good thing for some watery vegetables like cucumbers and eggplant in some dishes, but if you want mushrooms to remain plump, adds the salt at the end of cooking.
· Do not add salt before whipping egg whites. The salt pulls out the moisture which will not only increase whipping time, but decrease volume, texture, and stability.
· If you plan on adding salt to boiling water for pasta or vegetables, wait until the water boils before adding it. Salted water takes longer to boil.
· The addition of salt to vegetables and pasta results in a firmer texture.
· Vegetables naturally high in sodium include beets, kale, chard, celery, spinach, dandelion greens, carrots, endive, corn, and artichokes. Take care when adding salt.
· When reducing salt in breads, you will need to reduce the quantity of yeast and water. Salt is necessary to good yeast breads, so do not expect the same quality if you modify it. Salt slows down enzymes that cause gluten to break down, without which you end up with a sticky glob of dough. Usually the small amount used in bread as compared with serving size is not worth omitting the salt.
· A salted warm dish will not taste as salty when cold because chilling dims salty flavors.
Epsom salts are made up of a naturally occurring mineral that is found in water. More properly known as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts derives its popular name from the town of Epsom, England, where the compound was first distilled from water.
Epsom salts are easily obtained at any drug store or supermarket. Inexpensive and versatile, the salts can be used for a number of different applications around the home. Many of the applications have to do with expediting healing, as well as improving the quality of the skin and helping with basic grooming.
Perhaps the most popular application is the Epsom salts bath. As an ideal means of relieving stress at the end of a hard day, two cups of Epsom salts in a tub of hot water can help to soothe jangled nerves and restore a sense of well being. This one application makes Epsom salts a staple in many bathrooms around the world.
Cleansing is also a common use for Epsom salts. Many people make use of Epsom salt compounds to exfoliate skin, applying a paste of Epsom salts with a little water to the skin, then rinsing with clean warm water. Homemade skin masks that help with oily skin can be created, using the salts as the base ingredient. Along with the Epsom salts, the mask requires a small amount of lemon juice, an egg, and a small amount of nonfat dry milk. In situations where there is not time to wash hair, Epsom salts can be used to partially clean the follicles, making it easier to comb and set the hairdo.
Treating minor sprains and bruises with Epsom salts is also thought to be very effective. A simple Epsom salt bath applied to the area of the sprain or the bruise will provide relief to the impacted area, helping to reduce swelling and minimize the soreness. Immersing the area in warm water and Epsom salts for 20 to 30 minutes not only provides physical relief from the ailment, but also can be refreshing for the mind as well.
Eno can be used for baking. It causes the flours to rise and can be handy in preparing lots of dishes. For all that fluffiness and softness, Eno is used in varied food preparations like pancakes, rice flour tortillas, wheat flour tortillas, naans, dhoklas, khaman, rice puffs, iddli, dosa etc.
Eno fruit salt is available in grocery stores. It basic purpose is to get relief from acidity. It is kind of a home made soda. Just add half a tablespoon to a glass full of water and let it bubble a bit, drink it immediately and pretty soon we get relief from acidity. It is very handy after those spicy dinners after which you feel the need to calm your stomach acids. It reduces the stomach bloating and the burning sensation in the esophagus. Eno is a fruit salt to helps ease digestion. Eno is a mixture of soda bi carb and citric acid in required proportions. When it gets mixed with water the bubbles of co2 gets produced which relieves gases. The soda neutralizes the acids in the stomach. It is safe to drink. It is like any antacid tablet. But, this is fresh as you can prepare it whenever you need. It can replace the bottle of soda which goes well with hard drinks.
How to Store
Rock Salt, Kosher Salt
This is a coarser grind of salt with large, irregular crystals. It contains no additives. This coarse grind performs the job admirably. It is a favorite with not only Jewish cooks, but also professional and gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and brighter flavor. When substituting for table salt, you may need more to taste since it seems less salty. The size and shape of the crystals cannot permeate the food as easily as fine grades. Coarse pickling salt can be substituted
Many proponents of sea salt believe it to be much more flavorful than standard table salt. Chefs primarily use sea salt or kosher salt as a crust for baked potatoes or in French and Thai-inspired cuisine. Sea salt is actually not quite as 'salty' as table salt, so recipes may have been adjusted for taste. Sea salt is generally more expensive than other seasonings.
Less refined and grayish in color, this is the chunky crystal salt used in ice cream machines. When using rock salt for cooking, be sure it is food-grade. Some rock salt sold for ice cream machines is not suitable for cooking.
Salt has an infinite shelf life. They should be kept tightly capped and used within 1 year.
Humidity and moisture will cause salt to clump and stick together. Add about ten grains of raw rice to the salt shaker to absorb the moisture and keep the salt flowing freely. Do not store salt in silver containers. The chlorine in the salt reacts negatively with the silver, causing a green discoloration. Health Benefits
· Salt in general has been said if used often enough that it can contribute to hypertension. So if you use it in moderation then you won't have to worry about high blood pressure.
· Salt in some foods act as preservative, that is why frozen foods have a high amount of sodium in them to preserve the food, as it stays frozen.
· Stabilizes irregular heartbeats
· Generates hydroelectric energy in your body's cells
· Clears mucous plugs and sticky phlegm in the lungs, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis
· Clears up congestion of the sinuses
· Provides your body with a strong natural antihistamine
· Regulates sleep: It is a natural hypnotic
· Eliminates persistent dry coughs. Put a dash on the tongue
· Helps the kidney to pass excess acidity into the urine
· Stops excess saliva production
· Salt is also great for when you have a toothache, out some salt in a glass with warm water and then gargle, it can help keep a tooth decay clean until you can get to a dentist.