In This Small Kitchen: How Salty is Too Salty?

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I salt my food until the flavors sing. I salt stews, salads, pasta water until no one could accuse me of leaving a grain of my coarse kosher salt unaccounted for. Serving under-salted food is my greatest cooking anxiety.  I want to be able to taste what I’m chewing, to feel satisfied when I’m done, to know I’ve just eaten a meal.

But how much salt is too much?

For a long time, I figured that because I don’t eat much processed food (except for that twice weekly bag of potato chips…you can’t eat just one), I was in the clear with sodium consumption. But recently, I noticed my sprinkles of salt turning into larger and larger pinches. My cookies were renowned for being salty sweet. And I wondered if I was upping my dose to impress increasingly picky tastebuds. If so, I figured I should probably wind it back down.

I always use kosher salt–I like the coarseness when I take a pinch–but I know some people subvert all the sodium intake by using sea salt, where the brininess stands in for some of the saltiness. I’m curious what kind of salt you tend to use.

What’s your take–are you more Maldon than Morton? Or does regular table salt suit you fine? And, do you worry more about over-salting or under-salting?

P.S. The vegetable that craves salt more than I do.

 

  • http://twitter.com/AgentSuzanne Suzanne Ellis

    I used to salt a lot more than I do these days because for a while I was cooking for someone that had to limit sodium intake. I would salt anything!!! I was raised on Morton’s, but use sea salt now. I want to try different salts but don’t know if they are really different – all the colors and names, etc. Do I use more or less? So I just maintain!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Ha! I know a lot of people who “finish” their dishes with sea salt…but I’ve never quite been able to tell the difference.

  • http://juliamenn.weebly.com/

    I am super attuned to salt and barely put it in anything. I brined a turkey for thanksgiving once and used the given amount of salt the recipe called for – I personally found it very salty, whereas my roommate and other guests absolutely loved it and didn’t find it overly salty. I’ve always just used regular table salt, but have been meaning to pick up some sea salt to see what the fuss is about.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      It’s always interesting to eat with my mom and sister, who use far less salt than I do. What I find bland, they think is fine. What I think is delicious, they think is crazy salty. Hm.

  • http://aweekfromthursday.com/ heidi

    I am more afraid of bland food than over-salting. But I try to change flavors by using other spices. I have noticed my salt pinches are also getting bigger, but I use a lot of carbs and fats in my cooking, so I feel like salty foods are a natural addition to the list of “food I make that’s bad for you.”

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Haha. Also known as “food that tastes good”…

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    I definitely use salt more than I used to, but I really try to salt just enough. Nothing’s worse than overly salty food! OK, bland food is pretty bad, but you can always add more salt if necessary. I like to use sea salt or Kosher salt.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Except for undersalted French fries. Those might be worse than oversalted ones…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amanda-Kay/100001536570802 Amanda Kay

    I have used all kinds of salt. I usually stick to the store brand and it usually works for me. I feel like either the salt has changed or my taste buds have changed because I can’t get the food flavored enough. When boiling water, I sometimes would over salt. Now, now amount of salt can get it to taste good. So I wonder if my tongue has revolted or something. I found sea salt to be very bland in any dish I used and would have to add more and more just to get any kind of flavor from it.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I’ve had the same experience with sea salt. However, I find there’s pretty much no way to oversalt my pasta water, and I like pasta SO much more when it’s been cooked in properly salted water.

  • Charlotte

    I consistently under-salt my food. I always reassure my guest that I won’t be offended if they add salt – I know I don’t put in a lot! I always figure a person can salt to their own taste. Also, I almost never put the recommended amount of salt in a sweet item.

    I usually use sea salt, but I don’t find a huge difference.

    • Haus Miller

      I’m with you here. I prefer to under salt and put the shaker on the table so each person can add more to their taste.

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