Salt is considered the most common ingredient in the culinary world. For thousands of years, salt has been used to preserve food and to improve its taste.
As a seasoning, salt helps to bring out the natural flavors in food. It helps to make bland foods palatable.
In small amounts salt can intensify sweetness and counteract bitter flavors in food.
Salt also aides to release certain molecules in the food making the food more aromatic.
When To Use Salt
Cooks Illustrated says that for the most even seasoning and well-rounded flavor, it is strongly encourage seasoning foods during the cooking process.
They also say that you should avoid iodized salt when cooking, as it can impart a subtle chemical flavor.
Paul Breslin of Rutgers University, who’s primary focus of study is on taste perception with an emphasis on taste discrimination, taste enhancement and suppression, and taste localization, says that salt becomes the dominant flavor when adding it to your food at the table in place of making use of it while cooking your soup.
The salt doesn’t bind with the other flavors and leaves you with a salty aftertaste.
What can you do if you find your soup is to salty?
How To Fix An Over-Salted Soup
The following are some strategies for fixing an overly salty soup.
The easiest fix is to add more water, or stock, if your stock isn’t too salty in the first place. Add a little at a time, tasting as you go.
This method works best for soups that are brothy rather than thick and creamy.
Starchy ingredients like noodles and rice will absorb some of the excess salt as they cook and help thicken up the soup, so you can add a little more water to further dilute it.
You can also add a potato to your salty soup and remove it after the soup is done. The potato will sock up some of salt.
A splash of acid also helps take soups from good to great.
This would include lemons, limes, vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, pickles, yogurt, and sour cream.
Of course it depends on your soup base as to which acid you would incorporate. That is, is it a thick base or watery base.
Acids like vinegar or lime, or lemon juice can cut through the saltiness, as can a small amount of sugar. This works best for soups that are just a little too salty and need some balancing.
These types of acids are also a good addition to long-simmered bean soups or rich meat-based soups.
How To Prevent Over Salting Your Soup
To prevent over salting your soup implement these cooking tips:
Soups become saltier the longer they boil, as water evaporates away (salt doesn’t evaporate) so wait to adjust your seasoning and including adding salt towards the end of cooking.
A soup that is perfectly seasoned as it comes to a boil will be far too salty after 30 minutes of cooking.
Taste and Adjust Several Times
Tasting and adjusting your soup when adding is important – as you will avoid over salting the soup.
Don’t be afraid to keep tasting and adding salt a little at a time (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) towards the end of cooking, until the flavor is just right.
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