The most unpopular (popular) ingredient in your cabinet
How does salt affect the flavor of food?
In a number of ways. Salt is one of the five basic tastes that we’re hard-wired to detect (along with bitter, sweet, sour, and umami or savory). It enhances foods by essentially turning up the volume of their salty flavors. Salt can also dial down the taste of bitter foods by suppressing our perception of bitterness, and balance other tastes like sweet and sour (salt added to desserts or vinaigrettes, for example). Salt also unravels (or denatures) the tight spiral structure of proteins, making their flavors tastier and more aromatic.
Even the texture of salt enhances the taste of food. Flake salts like Maldon or Halen Môn Gold sprinkled over a green salad transmit crunchy bursts of saltiness that enhance the soft texture and mild flavors of lettuce leaves and other vegetables. And surprisingly, salt brings out aromas, too, because it helps release aroma molecules from food into the air. These stimulate our olfactory receptors, helping us to smell things.
How does salt preserve food?
Picture what happens when you sprinkle salt on a sliced cucumber; within a few minutes, the salt is dissolved in a pool of cucumber juice. That’s because water flows through food cell walls towards greater concentrations of dissolved particles, proteins, and pigments. When you rub salt on a vegetable or meat, it dissolves in the food’s exterior moisture, creating a concentrated solution that draws more water from the interior to the surface.
This process illustrates salt’s role in preserving meat for jerky, ham, or hard-cured salami. The salted meat is placed in circulating air, which evaporates emerging water so the meat dries out. Because microorganisms need moisture to survive, drying meat makes it inhospitable to molds and bacteria, thereby lengthening the storage life of some sausages and hams for months. I mean, who doesn't loved cured meats?
Unrefined salt Usually sea salt (but sometimes rock salt), evaporated in open-air pans and left unwashed so it retains trace minerals and other components that provide unique flavors, aromas, colors, and crystal structure. this category includes fleur de sel, gray salt, flake salt, and some flavored salts. often used as a finishing salt at the end of cooking.
Table salt Tiny, uniform, granulated crystals of refined salt containing 95 to 99 percent sodium chloride and usually 2 percent anticlumping agents like sodium silicoaluminate (an aluminum and silicone compound). often used in baking recipes.
Iodized salt Table salt supplemented with potassium iodide or iodate to prevent iodine-deficiency conditions like mental impairment and goiter. in areas where fish and sea vegetables (primary sources of iodine) are scarce, iodized salt remains the most effective method of preventing iodine-deficiency diseases. often used like table salt.
Kosher salt Coarsely ground refined salt (sometimes including an anti-clumping agent) manufactured for kosher butchering, where its large crystals draw blood and moisture from the surface of the meat. often used for cooking because it’s easy to pinch and sprinkle. curing salt refined salt containing added nitrite or nitrate; used to cure meats.
Pickling salt Additives like anticaking agents and iodine can contribute off flavors to pickles, so some salt manufacturers sell additive-free salt as pickling salt.
Pretzel salt A coarse refined salt with dry, solid grains that limit the absorption of fat from the pretzel, which can make exposed crystals blacken during baking.
I certainly hope this sheds a little light when it comes to your food and food taste.