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How to Cook With Less Salt

How to Curb Salt — but Not Flavor — in Your Cooking

By now you're probably familiar with MyPlate, the government's new food pyramid replacement; in case you hadn't heard, based on the updated guidelines, Americans are consuming far more sodium than they should. And new research suggests that overconsumption of salt affects cognitive function. High blood pressure, water retention, and stupidity? That's too much to bear. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to cut down on salt in the kitchen without impacting the deliciousness of your dinner. See a few easy steps, when you keep reading.

  • Use sea salt. Sea salt is on a high pedestal at the moment, but that's because it has true benefits. Because the all-natural, flaky salt is crunchier and larger in surface area than its generic table counterpart, a little bit of the stuff goes a long way.
  • Measure salt and pepper. If you haven't been busting out those teaspoons, be sure to make the most of them now. As an added perk, you're cutting down on the room for error when you follow a recipe's specific seasoning amount.
  • Cook from scratch whenever you can. Because salt is a preservative, it's a key ingredient in prolonging the shelf life of most prepared, canned, and packaged foods. Rather than buying pantry items like olives or ricotta cheese, make them yourself.
  • If you must buy canned items, rinse them before use. Don't have time to boil corn or soak beans? Buy the low-sodium canned version, then rinse the goods off with water before using them in a recipe.
  • Boost other tastes. Besides salty, there are four other basic tastes, so use them! I recommend cooking with foods high in umami, like mushrooms, tomatoes, and red wine, for an increase in savory, full flavors.
  • Don't forget the acid. Acidity can bring out flavors as much as, if not more than, salt; added citrus or vinegar will lend a piquancy to your dish that can mimic the qualities of salt.
Image Source: Thinkstock
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hexentanz hexentanz 5 years
I usually tend to skip the salt when cooking. Why bother when there is so many other lovely ingredients to boost flavor?
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
Oooooh! And if you are a hot sauce nut, Cholula brand is by far the lowest in sodium that I have been able to find, and the flavors are very good.
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
Agreed 100% with with ticamorena about the spices. I still add sea salt here and there with my homemade cooking, but in greatly reduced amounts. Penzey's Spices has some AWESOME salt free seasoning blends that I have stocked my spice drawer with for when I don't have fresh herbs available.
ticamorena ticamorena 5 years
ever since i discovered chilli and strong spices like summac, anise, cloves, ginger/garlic powders and spanish paprika, i use virtually no salt in my cooking without any loss of flavour!
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