In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is salt a spice?”. We will also discuss why salt is not considered a spice and if it is a condiment. Moreover, we will also talk about the uses of salt in food.
Is salt a spice?
No, salt is not a spice but a mineral compound found organically in nature. It is extracted from salt rocks or obtained through saltwater evaporation methods.
Spices have their own flavors, but salt doesn’t add any of its own flavors but enhances your dishes. Unlike spices and herbs, salt does not lose flavor over time.
Mostly only spices and herbs are used in cooking, so many people might think that salt is also a spice, but don’t be misinformed, as salt is neither a spice nor a herb, but a mineral that is an essential requirement in your kitchen cabinet.
Why is salt not considered a spice?
Salt is not considered a spice because spices only include seeds, roots, and other dried parts of plants, with the exception of leaves, which are referred to as herbs, but salt does not fall into this category.
Some of the common spices include vanilla whose beans are derived from tropical orchid plants, cinnamon from tree bark, cloves from the dried flower bud, while spices like anise, caraway, cumin, annatto, celery seed, coriander, cumin, etc come from the seeds of plants.
Likewise, spices are used to flavor and season foods, while salt is a sodium chloride-based organic mineral that acts more like a flavor enhancer. There are different varieties of salt available in the market that differ in grain size and salinity level. Table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt are some of the most common varieties of salt used in cooking and baking.
Is salt a condiment?
Yes, salt can also be used as a condiment. A condiment is something that is added to food that is already cooked to enhance its flavor. So, it is only natural to consider salt as a condiment because it is often used in little amounts to enhance the sweet, sour, and umami flavors of food.
The term condiment has several meanings and perceptions. While a condiment is generally known as a material that is added to food after it has been prepared and served, originally it was used to refer to pickled or preserved food. Aside from being a flavor enhancer, salt is one of the most commonly used food preservatives.
Why is salt used in food?
To enhance flavor
Salt’s most evident purpose is to enhance the flavor of food. Adding salt alone to your food is also called salting or seasoning with salt. Unlike spices, which are usually used for flavor and aroma, salt possesses unique flavoring properties which enhance your flavors.
Aside from giving a salty taste to your food, salt enhances sweetness when used sparingly on specific dishes and neutralizes the bitterness in your recipe as well.
To enhance texture
Most people disregard this function of salt while cooking, but salt is frequently used to produce texture in your recipes. Large salt crystals, for example, add texture to steaks when salted accordingly at the right time. It softens the meat and makes it juicy.
To preserve food
One of the oldest ways of food preservation is by using salt. The humidity in food encourages the growth of germs, which can degrade your food.
Salt acts as an excellent moisture absorbent by absorbing moisture and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Furthermore, when a large amount of salt is mixed with water, brine is formed, which is again a common way of preserving pickles.
Salt is not only a flavor enhancer, but it is also a vital mineral. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Sodium is essential for survival and maintaining a healthy physique and also aids in muscle contraction and fluid homeostasis in the body.
Salt provides you with your daily sodium needs. Moreover, iodine is another important chemical element that is added to salt which is important for your body. Iodine deficiency can lead to dangerous conditions such as goiters.
For more information on iodized salts, please click the link here.
In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Is salt a spice?”. We have also discussed why salt is not considered a spice and if it is a condiment. Moreover, we will also talk about the uses of salt in food.