Salt is known to have more than 14,000 uses.
Its use in cooking makes up less than 4 percent of the total salt
produced each year. Salt can be traced back to 6500 B.C., when it was
mined in Salzburg, Austria (translated as "salt town"). It has long been
believed that the Devil hated salt and that throwing it in his face
would banish the creature. So cultures sprinkled salt on the thresholds
and in corners of new homes to ward off the evil one, and Catholics once
put salt on a baby's tongue as part of their baptism services.
An easy way to fill a salt shaker without
spilling is to use a plastic funnel. If one is not available, make a
cone with a piece of paper. Salt can also be prevented from clumping and
clogging shakers by adding 1/2 teaspoon raw rice grains to the shaker to
absorb moisture. If you keep your salt in a tub or crock, tie the rice
in cheesecloth or a coffee filter and add it to the salt like a bouquet
garni. Change the rice once a year. Or you can stir 1 tablespoon
cornstarch into a 1-pound container of salt.
To prevent oversalting foods, store salt in
a small bowl or tub and use your fingers to sprinkle it over foods. This
gives you more control and a better sense of how much salt you are
using. Also, season foods near the end of cooking time. Many foods
contain natural amounts of sodium that are concentrated during the
cooking process. Be conservative. You can always add more salt; it's
harder to take it back.
However, there is also a fix for an
oversalted dish. If the dish has a bit of liquid in it, drop in a few
peeled potato slices for the last 10 minutes of cooking. The potato will
absorb some of the excess salt. Discard the potato before serving. You
could also add more of everything except salt, perhaps doubling the
recipe to balance the salt. Or try balancing the recipe by stirring in 1
teaspoon each sugar and white vinegar; cook 3 minutes, and taste for
balance. Add more sugar and vinegar if needed. Or, if the dish is raw,
you can rinse it with water to remove excess salt. To remove the
saltiness of brined olives or feta cheese, soak them in cold water for
several hours or overnight, changing the soaking water once.