Paula’s Spice Shelf: Salt

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Paula’s Spice Shelf: Salt

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

What’s the dish on salt? One of our favorite kitchen spices, it’s anything but a bland subject. Salt is a kitchen staple with endless uses. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty…


The shelf life of unseasoned salt is indefinite. As long as you keep out dirt or food particles, it will never go bad. Over time, some salt can start to yellow, but this doesn’t affect the flavor and is harmless. Salt will absorb moisture from the air so it keeps best if stored in an air tight container. If you salt does absorb moisture and clump, it can easily be dried out in the oven on a baking sheet.

Selection and Use:

With so many types of salt—table, kosher, canning, sea, rock—it can be hard to know which to use for what. We’re here to help!

1. One of the most common forms of salt is table salt. It can be used in just about anything. However, because it contains an added ingredient for anti-clumping, it can make pickling solutions cloudy.
2. Kosher salt is used for all cooking—canning, pickling, meat curing—because it dissolves and disperses quickly. It is larger in size than table salt.
3. Canning salt is usually used for food preservation and storage. It is generally about the same grain size as table salt.
4. Because sea salt comes from many places around the world, there are many different varieties (and prices!). It can be used in any cooking but is not recommended for food preservation because it contains minerals that can cause food discolor.
5. Rock salt comes in large crystals. It is usually used to lower the temperature of ice filled water in ice cream churns. It is not generally used in foods.


In the South, the high humidity affects our hair, our moods, and even our salt! Adding about 10 grains of raw rice to a salt shaker will keep it from clumping together.

Add too much salt to your dish? Don’t worry! We have a few fixer-uppers.

1. Add water to dilute saltiness
2. Add cream, brown sugar, or vinegar to counteract saltiness
3. Add a peeled, quartered potato and cook for 15 minutes to absorb saltiness

If you’re simmering a soup or sauce for a long time, don’t add too much salt at the beginning. Remember, your dish will reduce and the flavors will intensify.

Baked goods and sweets aren’t complete without a pinch of salt. But when you double a dessert recipe, don’t double the salt.

Chilling dims flavors, so if you’re testing a dish for saltiness make sure it’s warmed to the temperature at which you plan to serve it.

Salty Suggestions:

Salted Chocolate Pudding and Hazelnut Shortcakes
Salted Caramel Brownies
Garlic Pickled Carrots
Pickled Okra
Rhubarb Refrigerator Pickles
Deep Fried Ham

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By Mary E Hutchinson on January 19, 2013



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