SALT: Such a common element on the earth and on our kitchen tables and spice racks. We hardly give salt a second thought – unless of course you’re trying to lose weight or have high blood pressure or other heart conditions. It was, and is, so common that Jesus used it to describe the life of His disciples. “You are the SALT of the earth.” Jesus said. But what does that even mean?
I read a few cookbook articles and a few science articles about why we add salt to food and why salt seems to make food taste better. Here’s a summary of what I learned.
- Salt is used as a flavor enhancer because in small amounts it will reduce bitterness but increase sweet, sour and umami which is desirable for sweet recipes. (oo-mah-mee // the Japanese word for savory; a strong meaty taste imparted by glutamate and certain other amino acids. Thank you Dictionary.com). But at higher amounts, it cuts back sweetness and enhances umami/savory.
DISCIPLESHIP: Being Salt not only enhances life but brings about a balance
- Why does salt taste good and makes everything else taste better?
It’s biology. We like the taste of salt because our bodies need sodium chloride (SALT). By enhancing the taste of foods, salt may even help us eat a wider variety of food, ensure we get the nutrients we need. How tricky is that? ☺It’s chemistry. “Thanks to its chemical nature, salt has the amazing ability to intensify agreeable tastes and diminish disagreeable ones.”
DISCIPLESHIP: We need Jesus’ teachings on God’s forgiveness and grace, joy and extravagant welcome, even if we don’t realize it. to bring about a deeper sense of joy and grace to help us through the sorrows and fears of our lives.
- Salt brings out the complex flavors of a dish.
“Some flavor compounds are too subtle to detect, but when you add even just a teeny amount of salt, neurological magic happens: Suddenly, our taste receptors can detect flavors they weren’t able to sense before. So, when you add salt to roasted squash, the squash doesn’t merely become salty; rather, the myriad complex flavors of the vegetable come to the fore.”
We add Salt to bread dough so the bread tastes more ‘bready’. We add salt to cakes, cookies, puddings, and other desserts simply to help balance all those ‘complex flavors’ and well… make them taste good.
DISCIPLESHIP: Human life is complex and as Salty Disciples we are called to live our faith deeply mingling alongside the people we see each day – so “others may see the deeds we do and give God praise.” (Matt. 5:
- Salt enhances sweetness and blocks bitterness
Salt has a special ability to enhance the sweetness in bitter foods. That’s because “sodium ions zero in on bitter flavor compounds and suppress them, making the sweet flavors seem stronger.”
So it’s always a good idea to pair bitter foods or drinks with something salty.
DISCIPLESHIP: Being Joyfully in the Lord, even around people who are angry or bitter, can change the mood of the situation.
- Salt can make meat juicier – soak it in a briny bath
When you soak meat in brine, the salty water flows in and goes to work breaking down the protein cells, allowing them to sop up the brine/the salt. The meat is moister and more flavorful because the salt water the meat soaked up tastes good. For even better flavor, add other flavorings to their brine, like sugar, herbs, and spices.
DISCIPLESHIP: Soak up your time with Jesus & God in prayer, meditation, Scripture and worship – You’ll find God will enter into all aspects of your life making your life that much more… ‘flavor’.
By soaking in the “briny” Love of Jesus, we become the ‘seasonings’ and ‘flavor-enhancers’ of life.
Soak long and love deeply, my friends,