Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller
A Special 3-Part Series
Did you know that salt has more uses than any other mineral. More than 14,000 to be exact? Yes, that amazing bottle of salt is good for more than just adding flavor to your food. In fact, without salt, life would cease to exist.
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Salt comes in a variety of forms: table salt, kosher salt, low-sodium salt, canning and pickling salt, and sea salt. Kosher salt which is additive free can be used as a table salt and is popular for its slightly larger crystals, lighter taste, and quickness in dissolving. Table salt is pure sodium chloride refined from mined rock salt or sea salt. Sea salt, obtained by evaporating seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. Gourmets consider sea salt to have a better texture and taste, but it is also more expensive. Canning and pickling salt is similar to table salt, but lacks iodine and anti-caking additives.
Before refrigeration, salt played a significant role in preserving foods. In history, salt was so valuable, it was even used as money. Today salt cleans, removes stains, melts snow and ice, relieves stress when added to a warm bath, extends the life of brooms and sponges, and much more.
Though many people tout salt as an unhealthy additive and restrict it from their diet, salt remains one of the most useful minerals on earth. Here are just a few ways to use salt in your kitchen.
31 Money Saving Ideas for the Kitchen
1. A pinch of salt on top of citrus fruits brings out the fruit's crisp taste immediately.
2. Place freshly peeled fruit in a salt water bath to prevent the fruit from browning.
3. Try a dash of salt in warm milk for a relaxing beverage.
4. A pinch of salt also improves the flavor of cocoa.
5. Add a pinch of salt to coffee grounds before brewing. The salt enhances the true coffee flavor by removing some of the acid taste.
6. Sea salt tends to make lettuce and other vegetables crisper.
7. Wash spinach and other greens more easily by rinsing in salted water. Not only does the salt draw out the dirt, but it also kills any little critters that might be in your fresh organic lettuce or greens.
8. To preserve milk or cream, add a pinch of salt to it. You can also add a pinch of salt to milk before freezing it.
9. Do you have problems peeling the shells off hard boiled eggs? Try boiling the eggs in salted water. The salt water also helps a cracked egg stay in the shell while boiling.
10. To test freshness in eggs, place an egg in a cup of water and add a couple teaspoons of table salt. A fresh egg will sink; a spoiled egg will float.
11. Add a pinch of salt to cheese before placing in plastic wrap to prevent mold on cheese.
12. A dash of salt in gelatin will help it set faster.
13. Does something smell fishy? Dip a lemon wedge in salt and rub the item (hands, cutting board, counter, etc.) and rinse with water.
14. If you drop a raw egg on the floor, pour salt on it and leave it for 20 minutes to make the cleanup easier.
15. Did you burn something in the stove or oven? Salt can eliminate that burned food odor.
16. Throw salt on fresh spills in your still-hot oven to aid the cleaning process when the oven is cool.
17. Burned milk stains are very difficult to remove. Salt can make the job much easier. Wet the burned pan and sprinkle with salt. Wait about 10 minutes, then scrub the pan.
18. Remove coffee or tea stains from cups by rubbing them with kosher salt.
19. Salt is great for removing lipstick from glassware.
20. You can even use table salt to remove stains in vases. Either rub the stain with salt or soak it in a strong salt solution.
21. Add boiling water and three tablespoons salt to a casserole dish with stubborn, baked-on food in a casserole dish,. Let the dish stand until the water cools; then wash it as usual.
22. Salt makes copper shiny. First, sprinkle the tarnished bottoms with salt. Then scour the stains away with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Rinse the pan, and wash as usual.
23. Regularly pour hot, strongly salted water down the kitchen sink to remove odors
24. Hot salt water also prevents grease build up in sinks.
25. Clean greasy iron pans by sprinkling about a teaspoon of salt in the pan. Wipe the pan out, and then wash as usual.
26. Prevent grease splatters that can burn you or make a mess of your kitchen by adding a few dashes of salt to the pan before frying foods.
27. If you have a grease fire, toss salt on it. (Never put water on a grease fire which can make the grease splatter and the fire spread.)
28. Kneading or rolling dough can make a mess on counters. Sprinkle your countertop with salt, and neatly wipe away everything with a sponge.
29. Mix half a cup of salt and baking soda to a gallon of water to wash away stains and odors inside your refrigerator.
30. Cook food faster by adding a little salt to boiling water.
31. Adding a pinch of salt to your cream or egg whites makes them whip more easily and faster and higher
These ideas are just a portion of the many creative ways you can use salt in your kitchen.
Next (Salt: Part 2)
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Copyright © 2008 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.