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Sara’s Kitchen Revelations – Oversalted it? There is one solution.

Posted By Sara Moulton On July 20, 2012 @ 10:43 am In Blog,Useful Info | 6 Comments

I’m sure it’s happened to you – you forgot to taste one more time and added more salt anyway and then realized that suddenly your stew/soup/sauce was so salty it was inedible.

salt, the culprit

 

 

For years I thought the answer was to add one of these three starchy foods:

 

pasta, potatoes, rice -- to the rescue?

 

That was the solution I suggested on my live call in show, “Cooking Live,” on the food network.

 

 

 

Then one day, a few years ago I was reading a new book I had picked up about food science:

 

"What Einstein Told His Cook"

 

and realized I was completely wrong. Robert L. Wolke, the author of the book and professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh conducted an experiment with potato slices cooked in various degrees of salted water and discovered this:

…the potato simmered in plain water was bland, the potato simmered in the one-teaspoon-per-quart water was salty, and the potato simmered in the one- tablespoon-per-quart water was much saltier. Does this mean that the potato actually absorbed salt from the “soups?”

No, All it means is that the potatoes soaked up some salt water, they didn’t selectively extract the salt from the water. Would you be surprised if a sponge placed in salt water came out tasting salty? Of course not. The concentration of salt in the water – the amount of salt per quart – would not be affected. So the salty taste of the potatoes proved nothing, except that for more flavor we should always boil our potatoes – and our pasta, for that matter – in salted water rather than plain water. “

Of course I didn’t believe him. I went into my kitchen at Gourmet and did the experiment myself with potatoes, pasta and rice and found out that he was completely right.

So what is the solution for saving a salty dish?

Add more water.

 


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