Is the dry salting food preservation method a new thing? Once upon a time, homes had larders to store food. These were cool, dry places with constant temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. It was the perfect place to store meat and fish for longer keeping times.
It is no longer the case in most homes today. The modern home is generally warmer, so the food we buy is more prone to rot and decay quickly.
It also means that we must find alternate ways to preserve our food so that it lasts longer and stays safe to eat. The process of salting and curing meat has been used as a way of preserving meats for centuries.
But beyond this traditional method, there are other lesser-known preservation methods, such as dry salting as a food preservation technique.
When you think of salt, you probably think of salt as an additive to seasoning food rather than a preservative and its likely detrimental effects on your health. You might not immediately associate salt with food preservation.
This is because salting as a means of preserving food has gone out of fashion. However, salt is great as a natural preservative.
This article will introduce you to salting as a method of food preservation. We’ll take an in-depth look at how it works, its benefits and drawbacks, and some helpful tips for getting started with this technique in your kitchen.
Quick Example On Salting
There are different ways to salt foods to preserve them, and this article covers one method: dry salting.
A quick example with vacuum-sealed foods; they not only last longer but also retain more moisture and flavor when stored in airtight containers or bags. Salting might help here.
Salt on surfaces and in hollow spaces helps control moisture and prevent bacteria from growing. Salt also gives a boost to the taste of the foods, so they last longer before going stale. Let’s take a closer look at how dry salting preserves food and what benefits it offers.
What is Dry Salting?
Dry salting is a food preservation method that does not involve water use. Salting food as a preservation method dates back to the 15th century. Sodium chloride is the chemical compound that makes up salt, and sodium chloride is an excellent preservative.
Salt was heavily used to preserve meat and fish, as refrigeration wasn’t available back then. Although salt is still an important part of meat curing today, food scientists have discovered many other ways to use salt as a preservative.
You can also dry salt vegetables to get the same effect as traditional wet salting, which involves soaking vegetables in a salt brine.
Why Is Dry Salting Used as a Food Preservation Method?
Dry salting is a form of food preservation that uses salt to increase the shelf life of food. Salt is one of the most widely used food preservatives today.
It serves as a natural anti-microbial agent, inhibiting the growth of fungi, mold, and bacteria. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the food against the harmful effects of oxygen.
Dry salting works best to maintain the crispness of vegetables if you choose to preserve your vegetables this way. It also enhances the flavor of food and prevents food from getting stale.
How to Dry Salt Food for Preservation?
Dry salting is straightforward. Start by choosing the suitable salt for the job. Coarse salt works best for dry salting because it has larger crystals and a larger surface area.
This helps it absorb more moisture from the food. It would be best to use iodized salt for dry salting because iodide acts as a natural antifungal agent and prevents mold from growing.
You should not use table salt for dry salting. Table salt is manufactured by removing impurities such as iodine. This leaves the salt void of its natural antifungal properties.
Follow these steps to dry salt your food:
- Coarsely grind the salt using a mortar and pestle.
- Pour the salt on the vegetables or meat to be preserved.
- Shake the container to distribute the salt crystals evenly. You can also pour salt on the food and shake it in a paper bag. That’s it!
Pros of Dry Salting
As mentioned before, dry salting food is a simple process. The method is straightforward, and it is almost effortless to ensure that the food gets enough salt without over-salting it.
- Dry salting is economical. When you dry salt your foods, you don’t need as much salt as you would if you wet salt your foods. You can use less salt and still get the same effects as a brine.
- Dry salting can be done at home. You don’t need to be a professional chef to dry salt your foods. Anyone can do it, and it can be done in your kitchen.
- Dry salting does not require you to submerge food in a liquid. This means that you don’t have to worry about your food getting soggy or losing its texture.
- Dry salting can be applied to a variety of different foods. You don’t just dry salt vegetables; you can dry salt meat, poultry, or fish. You can even dry salt items like nuts to make them crispier.
- Dry salting allows you to be creative. You can dry salt your food in any way that you want. There are no set rules for dry salting foods, so you can be as creative as you want according to your taste and needs.
- Dry salting is easy to do and can be done almost anywhere. You can dry salt your foods while they are in storage or while they are being shipped to their destination.
Cons of Dry Salting
- Dry salting can cause food to become too salty if it is done incorrectly. You must measure the salt accurately, as too much salt will cause the food to taste unappetizing.
- Dry salting does not have such preservative properties as a brine, so it will not give your foods the same shelf life as a brine will.
- Some foods are more delicate than others, and dry salting can cause the more fragile items to become soggy.
- Some people are allergic to iodine, and this can be very harmful if they eat foods that have been dry-salted.
Benefits of Dry Salting Food Preservation
Dry salting has many benefits as a food preservation method. It is elementary to do and can be done by anyone. It does not require any fancy equipment or special skills.
It also doesn’t require any extra ingredients like a brine does, making it an economical choice. Dry salting can be applied to a variety of different foods and spices. You can dry salt vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and even nuts.
This makes dry salting a very versatile preservation method. Dry salting also helps to retain the texture of foods. Many foods will become soggy if they are preserved using a brine.
Dry salting does not have this effect on food, and it actually helps to create a crispy texture. This makes dry salting an excellent preservation method for vegetables.
As you can see, dry salting is a very effective way of preserving foods. It is inexpensive and easy to do, and anyone can do it. It also does not require any extra ingredients, making it very economical.
Dry salting has many benefits, including helping to retain the texture of foods and allowing you to be creative with your food. However, it also has no such preservative properties as a brine does, so it will not give your foods the same shelf life as a brine will.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to preserve your food, then dry salting is the way to go.