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How to Use Salt to Season Boiled Food

Butcher Salt Mill Grinder French Sea Salt 1 x 11.2 ozSalt, for the obvious reasons, seasons food.

It also can increase the temperature at which water boils at, making your boiling water “hotter” to better cook your food – such as when you boil pasta. It’s science – that’s all.

So, boiling food in salty water will increase the flavor of the food and often, brings out the flavors of food like corn on the cob, pasta, rice and other vegetables like potatoes (which require quite a bit more salt than other vegetables)

However, there are some foods you DO NOT want to boil with salt…like beans, legumes and fish.

Why You Shouldn’t Boil Beans in Salt
For some reason, when you boil beans with salt (or any acid like vinegar, citrus, tomato based products), the beans take an extremely long time to cook through. In fact, you’ll probably lose interest and dump out the whole lot before it cooks all the way.

When boiling beans, simply add pepper or peppers, onion, garlic or other non-acidic or salty spices. Don’t use garlic salt or onion salt!

When cooking fish, I rarely – I mean 99.999% of the time, don’t use salt to season.

Why? Because fish comes from the ocean or sea and that water is salty, which in turn gives fish a salty flavor already, often a perfect salty flavor.

Also, when you add salt to fish dishes, it gives it a more “fishy”, and I mean in a bad way, taste and smell.

Poached and boiled eggs require salt in the water. When poaching, it’s for flavor and to increase the temperature at which the water boils. For boiled eggs in the shell, it’s to increase the temperature at which the water boils, for the most part.

However, for bland food like grains or vegetables that need a kick, use salt for seasoning.


I hope you enjoyed this How to Cook post on Cooking With Kimberly! Until next time…

Eat Deliciously,

Kimberly Edwards 🙂

P.S. Unless I’m baking, I usually use coarse sea salt when cooking. I use sea salt because it’s less processed and doesn’t contain other additives. Try it out for yourself, you’ll taste the difference:

Maldon Sea Salt Maldon Sea Salt

Maldon Sea Salt is presented as pure flaky crystals which slowly dissolve leaving the palate completely refreshed. It is a completely natural product without artificial additives retaining valuable sea water trace-elements such as magnesium and calcium and is certified by the Organic Food Federation as an taste means less is required an advantage for those who wish to reduce their salt intake. It continues to be hand harvested using the same traditional methods handed down by generations of local salt makers ensuring a truly natural product. Each box of Maldon Sea Salt contains 8.5 oz. 240g .

[tags]salt, cooking with salt, how to boil food, boiling with salty water, salty water, when to use salt, how to use salt, how to cook with salt[/tags]

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Author: Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is the web-chef behind CookingWithKimberly.com. Food writer, food consultant and general lover of the delicious treats on our planet, Kimberly brings you hearty content, delicious offerings, fun antics, and some down-home cooked love with her mom making cameos. Internet entrepreneur and marketer, International model, and Editor-in-Chief of a number of online publications. Be a Champion in Your Kitchen & Eat Deliciously!

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  1. Salt does raise the boiling point of water, but unless you use an immense amount of salt, the temperature change is trivial. If you want to raise the temperature of a quart of water even two degrees, you need to add two tablespoons of water, i.e. a four quart pot of water for cooking a pound of pasta would need eight tablespoons (half a cup) just to increase the boiling point about 1% higher. The effect on the taste of the pasta would make it nearly inedible.

    The science doesn’t bear out your point very well.

    Post a Reply
    • Wow…Thank you very much for providing the science behind it all. Much appreciated. The main point for adding the salt is to add flavor, certainly.


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