Introduction: 8 Uses of Salt
Why did I chose salt?
Because this is something we all use every day primarily for seasoning food, but it has a number of other uses as well. In this Instructable, I will show you that apart from seasoning, it can be used for preserving food (fermentation), cleaning, making playdough and with Christmas coming up, I thought I’d also share a last-minute edible gift idea.
The other reason is totally personal, my favorite tale is also about the importance of salt, titled: The salt. It is a Hungarian folk tale about an elderly king who cannot decide on which one of his three daughters should inherit his wealthiest kingdom and decides to put them to the test and asks them how much they love him. The third one – the youngest – says that she loves him as much as people love salt. The old king does not get the point, becomes furious and expels his daughter from home.
However, following twists and turns, she falls for a young prince and vice versa, and they get married. They live happily, and when she tells her husband the story of how she got expelled by his father, the prince invites the old king for a dinner and but all meals are served to him without any salt in it. The old king wonders if the local chef knows how to use salt at all, and gets the obvious answer that of course he does, but the prince was informed that the old king does not like salt. Then his daughter steps into a room, it occurs to the old king that a trick has been played on him and he feels truly sorry for the years lost.
Since this posts contains multiple projects, to avoid confusion I decided to include supplies in the text of each description.
Step 1: 1. Edible Gift: Infused Salt - General
The good thing about infused salt is that it is easy to make, cheap, it is very likely that you have all ingredients around the house. All you need is good quality salt, and something to infuse it with (like herbs, spices, lemon, dried mushroom, possibilities are endless).
This time I made four types:
- rosemary and lemon zest
- oriental spice
- red wine
- sage and orange zest
- 15 cm sprig rosemary
- 3 lemons
- 1 tsp nigella
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp Sichuan pepper
For No. 3.:
- 120 ml red wine
- sage (20-25 leaves)
- 1 orange
Plus (for each one):
- sea salt / kosher salt (about 50 - 60 g for each)
Please consider the above quantities as guidelines and feel free adjust ratios to your taste. It just can’t go wrong.
- lemon zester
- cutting board
- parchment paper
- mortar / food processor
Step 2: Rosemary - Lemon Zest
Remove lemon peel (either with a special lemon peel remover, but grating is also fine), finely chop fresh rosemary leaves. Rub lemon peel with salt, mix in chopped rosemary. Spread on a piece of parchment until it dries completely, then fill into jars.
Step 3: Oriental Spices
Dump spices and salt into food processor, grind.
Step 4: Red Wine
Pour wine into a small saucepan, bring it to boil and reduce it to about 1/5 of the original quantity. Transfer into a small bowl, add salt (in this case you may need more salt than with the rest, keep adding salt until it has a wet sand consistency) and combine. Let it dry on a parchment (it may need several days).
Step 5: Sage - Orange Zest
Chop sage leaves and place them in a mortar. Crush with salt. Remove orange peel and mix in. Spread on a piece of parchment until it dries completely, then fill in jars.
Step 6: 2. Preserving - Fermentation
Salt has been used for preserving food for centuries. It dehydrates food and creates an unpleasant environment for living organisms like bacteria (think jerky or prosciutto).
Salt is the key element in fermentation, an ancient method to preserve for example vegetables. During fermentation process, carbs are broken down and thereby an anaerobic, acidic environment is created which helps to extend shelf-life with the side effect of producing fantastic flavors.
- butternut squash (roughly same amount as carrots)
- spices (red pepper, cumin, chili, star anis)
- Mandolin /vegetable slicer and protective glove
- clean (not sterile) jar with a well-fitting lid
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- vegetable peeler
- digital scale
Step 7: Prepare Brine
Prepare a 3% brine (for 1 liter of water add 30 g salt), bring it to boil and let it cool to room temperature.
Step 8: Prepping Veggies
Clean (peel and wash) and thinly slice veggies (or grate them as a matter of fact).
Step 9: Filling the Jar
Dump spices into the bottom of the jar. Press vegetable slices tightly into the jar up to the neck of the jar.
Slice another carrot into 0,5 cm thick slices long enough to be tucked under the neck of the jar to keep pieces of veggies submerged.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Pour cold brine into the jar, so that it covers all veggies inside. Secure lid, place a bowl underneath as during the course of fermentation, a part of the brine will flow out of the jar. Leave at room temperature for at least 3-4 weeks, then it is ready to be enjoyed. (Keep it in the fridge after opening the jar.)
Step 11: 3. Removing Tea Stains
Tea - black tea especially - tends to leave stains on the inside of the mugs, that even the dishwasher fails to remove. If you ever had such an issue, salt is the answer. Place a teaspoon of salt on a sponge, give the mug a good rub and rinse.
Step 12: 4. Playdough
You can also make playdough with salt in no time. Mix 100 g flour, 100 g salt, 60 g water and 1 tablespoon canola oil in a small bowl. Knead into a ball. You may color the dough with food coloring paste. If you do not use it immediately, keep it wrapped in a piece of clingfilm.
Cheap, easy and fun.
Step 13: 5. Cleaning a Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron pans are great to use, but occasionally you may have to cope with burnt food sticking to it.
Dump salt into the pan so that it totally covers the bottom in a thick layer, heat until you smell a characteristic burnt smell. You’ll see that salt in contact with the bottom got discolored.
At this point, remove about half of the salt, then using a metal scrub, clean the surface of the skillet. Discard remaining salt.
Rinse, wipe dry, pour 1 tablespoon canola oil into the skillet, spread it with a piece of cloth. Done.
Step 14: 6. Red Wine Spillage – a Myth
I remembered having heard somewhere that salt comes in handy with red wine spillages. I checked and various internet sources confirmed that it should work. This seemed to be an ideal time to test it.
Therefore, I poured some wine on a piece of white linen, then followed instructions I read online: covered it immediately with salt, dampened with wet sponge and waited. In the end, nothing happened, the stain stayed. ☹
Step 15: 7. Checking the Freshness of an Egg
Add 2 tablespoons of salt into a cup of cold water. Fresh egg will sink, while an old egg will float.
Step 16: 8. 8. Boiling Eggs
Add 1 teaspoon of salt into the water when making boiled eggs. No, they won’t get salted, but it will be a lot easier to peel them!
Participated in the
Unusual Uses Contest