Chefs all around the world have contradictory views as regards the timing of adding salt to foods during cooking. In fact, there is no record of any research that has shown and proven which time of salting is healthier or appropriate. Based on the controversies, I have decided to join the chain of food professionals to share my opinion in line with my training and experience as a food scientist.
Salting For Different Types of Food
I have also discovered that the process of salting actually differs for different foods but this time, my decision is only to write on these two meals (Meats and Soups) since they are regularly cooked in most house holds on daily basis. Before the emergence of refrigerator and other forms of preservation of foods, historically, the primary reason for adding of salt to food was for preservation. Flavour and taste was a secondary purpose. Lets see the appropriate timing to add salt to the two meals.
When, During Cooking Should You Add Salt To Meat?
I do not know if it is because we want to get things done quickly or it is the better way; what I see mostly is people adding salt to meat from the very start in addition to other additives like onions, MSG and other. When this is done, it tends to harden the meat. The addition of salt raises the boiling temperature thereby reducing the cooking time but less natural meat flavour is released as salting closes the pores of the meat.
Hey friends, I am particularly interested in the flavour of the meats when I am cooking. For me, I have adopted adding salt to my meats almost at the end of cooking. It provides an opportunity for the natural flavours of the meat to be produced. It also helps in reducing the amount of salt to be added which is healthier for high blood pressure patients.
ALSO SEE: Effect of too much salt on the body!
Salting of Soups and Stews:
The idea of adding salt at the start of cooking soups is fairly common among students but gradually creeping into the method of cooking by many house wives. In fact, it was in the University that I first notice this. Students are always in a rush. When you add salt at the start, as the soup thickens, only water is evaporated not salt, so you might likely end up with a slightly salty food as you would have added salt based on the initial volume of the soup.
It would be smarter to add salt much later into the cooking when the soup is almost at your desired thickness. That way, you will avoid salty food. Remember the daily requirement of sodium should not exceed 2300mg per day which is an equivalent of about 10grams of salt. To much salting due to adding at the start of cooking could raise your daily sodium level above 5000mg which is unacceptable.
I do believe some of you have contrary opinions and methods you have adopted for many years that have made your food a delight to your family. Please share with us if you agree or disagree with this write up.