Why It Seems I Over Salt My Food – A Chef’s Trick of the Trade

May 22, 2013 — 3 Comments

Celtic Sea Salt

If you’ve read a recipe or two of mine, it looks like I over salt food.

This is not the case, because I add the same amount of salt (actually it’s probably less) in stages and I use celtic sea salt.

Salting in stages is the difference between
being a home cook and great home cook.

How does salting in stages work? A little trick I’ve learnt from chefs in the know, and really easy to make big flavour impact. Say you would normally add approximately 2 teaspoons of salt to a soup (depending on volume of course). Divide that up into 3 or 4 and use those portions to salt as you add in different vegetables, meat and stock. I’m not as literal as that, because I am familiar with how much to use. Use a pinch here. A pinch there. Don’t go too far at each stage – you can’t un-salt. And be sure to taste towards the end, checking if it needs a final pinch.

A little magic then starts to happen. And perhaps a little chemistry. Salt brings out the innate flavours of each ingredient, enhancing the depth and quality of the dish. If a dish is salted at the end – which is what most recipes recommend – it leaves a one dimensional salt-sitting-on-the-top-palate flavour.

Isn’t salt bad for us? For starters, if you want anything to taste a-ok, you need salt. Enjoying food is a huuuuuge part of health. That’s the esoteric side covered.

On a more scientific note; each and every cell in our bodies has a sodium/potassium pump. Look it up. It needs sodium (salt) and potassium (kind of another salt) to transfer nutrients into the cell and wastes out. This needs to happen for the most basic cellular function. Just go easy. Remember balance is the key to having salt.

However, we’re not getting enough proper salt anyways – depleted soils and all that. That’s why I’m ok with salting my food with celtic sea salt. Unlike it’s evil twin table salt, celtic sea salt has a nutrient content of over 80 trace elements. This is a mineral profile very similar to that of healthy blood. Being unrefined, the salt will have a slight green tinge and some brands are even a little moist. The flavour is well rounded and has punch, which means I don’t need to use as much as I would using table salt.

While on the matter, refined, bleached table salt in the form of sodium chloride has been stripped of its companion elements and contains toxic additives such as aluminium silicate, to keep it powdery and porous. This is the salt product that has a tendency to cause odema and weight gain and linked to kidney and blood pressure problems as we have learned through the common food pyramid teachings. It’s not only bad for health, refined salt progressively deadens the palate and taste buds so that more and more must be added to get any taste at all from the meal.

So, there you have it – salt in stages
and use a nutrient rich unrefined salt.

I recommend tasting as you go until you get a feel for how much salt you can use at each stage. It will vary depending on the kind of salt you use.

Look after yourself,
Becki xx

Edit: Saltiness is one of the 5 flavours that has an important function in TCM herbology. The salty flavour influences the Kidneys and functions to soften hardness (nodules and the like and including accumulations in constipation), and helps to drain and purge. Like all the flavours, nothing in excess or it leads to more problems.

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