Do your meals ever turn out underwhelming? It's more than likely you're not using enough salt. Learning how to salt your food properly is one of most important cooking skills to master. Otherwise you can follow a recipe everyone else thinks is amazing and for you…total dud. This can be 100% because of salt.
Culinary school was eye opening for me when it came to the topic of seasoning and how little we're taught about it through recipes and cookbooks. There really is an art to seasoning food properly you can't list in an ingredient list. Once you get the hang of how much salt to use, your recipes will be vibrant in flavor every time.
Here are my top seasoning tips:
- Taste as you go. Tasting frequently may be the most important tip when it comes to seasoning. It also helps you to reach your specific preference level with salt. Some people like more than others. Just make sure to avoid tasting foods that have raw meats or eggs until they are cooked through. We don't want you to get sick!
- What's going in your dish? If you have salty foods that are already part of the recipe, like olives, parmesan cheese, bacon, etc you'll want to start very lightly with the salt shaker. Taste and adjust.
- Salt frequently. Salt takes time to dissolve and combine with other flavors. Start with a little salt in the beginning, as you're cooking and tasting, continuously add more until it tastes perfect. A good way to test this practice is with a pot of soup. Salt, taste, stir, wait, taste, salt, stir, wait.
- Chilled foods need finishing salt. The colder the food is when served the more bland the flavor gets. Once your slaws and potato salads have chilled, do one more taste test and determine if you need a bit more salt to finish before serving.
- Use Kosher salt or Sea Salt for cooking. Kosher is the king of salts when it comes to flavoring food. It's not necessary to go buy new salt but do know that iodized salt can leave more of a “salty” taste while Kosher salt and sea salt tend to bring out the flavor of foods more.
Too much salt? Too little salt?
If you're not sure about how much salt to add these guidelines are a good rule of thumb:
1 pound vegetables: ~1/2tsp – 1tsp salt
1 pound meat, poultry & fish: ~ 3/4tsp – 1tsp
Soups (using water or low sodium broth): ~1/2tsp – 1tsp
Baking: use exactly what's in recipe.
The more you practice these tips the more you'll be able to determine how much salt you need, and more importantly, you'll hit the mark every time!
Note: some of you may be on a low sodium diet for health reasons. These guidelines may provide too much sodium for you. Speak to a Registered Dietitian or your physician to figure out the right amount for you.
If you want to try out some of these tips, head over to Prep Dish for a FREE two week trial of our meal plans. If you have certain dietary restrictions, please also take a look at our Specialty Meal Plans.