Since ancient times, salt has been used to preserve everything from meat and fish to the absolute extreme—cadavers. We've come a long way from mummifying, but salt is still as virtuous and helpful in preserving and curing as it was for our ancient predecessors.
Nearly all proteins and vegetables (and even fruits!) can be preserved or cured with salt for different reasons and with different outcomes. Pork, bacon, and duck are often preserved with dry salt—meaning a salt rub is thoroughly applied and the proteins are left to cure (and essentially dry out) anywhere from a day or two to several weeks—depending on your intent.
Or the food could be preserved and cured in brine, which is essentially a salty, watery mixture that will have a pickling effect—especially with your vegetables.
Brines in particular have a superb ability to infuse your protein or vegetable with flavor, carrying the salt and any other herbs and spices that may have been added to it through every bit of your food. Brines keep your dish effortlessly juicy and flavorful.
Brines usually consist of one cup of salt to every gallon of water, and your protein or vegetable should be completely submerged in the mixture for proper brining and flavor infusion—about an hour for each pound. Venture to the SaltScribe to take a look at some inventive brining tips and recipes that take bold approach to an old technique. Wouldn't you want to sink your teeth into a turkey that took a delicious dip in a smokey, Salish salt brine? Of course you would!
Brining, undoubtedly, involves some time and patience—but the outcome is worth every minute you spend doing it.
Confit is food—mainly proteins—that are preserved in a mixture of salt and fat (usually their own). The protein is already cooked at the time of preservation, but storing it in a container of fat and salt will lengthen the life of your protein as well as heighten the flavor and moistness.
Confit foods can also enlist sugar, oil, and vinegar to help in preserving other types of food, but we can't help but be biased towards the decadent salt-and-fat variety.
Goose, duck, and pork are often preserved in confit and are considered delicacies. If you ever see conft de canard (preserved duck) on a menu at a fancy French restaurant, don't pass it up. Confit foods are quite the culinary experience.
Don't let the fancy, French name make you think you can't accomplish a confit in your own kitchen, though. Our SaltScribe will give you some recipe ideas that will help you take on a confit with confidence.
If you want to enjoy salt in a new way, salt-baked dishes may be right for you.
The usual ingredients for the salt bake are pretty straightforward: several cups of sea salt (depending on what you are baking, you may need more or less), water, and egg whites. Recipes may vary, but the end result will always be delicious.
Salt bakes basically involve laying your main dish—whether it's chicken, fish, or even vegetables like potatoes—in a bed of salt and covering with yet even more salt to cocoon your dish in a blanket of salt. Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn't it? It gets better: the salt will harden and form a shell around your protein or vegetable. After baking the salt nest of goodness for the required amount of time, remove it from the oven and break away the baked-on salt shell to reveal a wonderfully seasoned dish.
Salt bakes not only add to the flavor, they also regulate the temperature and water content of your dish. The salt shell seals in all the flavor and juices, and miraculously it does not make the outside of your protein or vegetable overly salty (since you break away the shell after baking).
Check out the SaltScribe section for some tasty recipes for salt bakes using our premium salts. If you can imagine the tastiness that a Pure Foundations sea salt would create, imagine the delicious possibilities of using one of our Beyond Blend salts. Our Citrus Basil blend, for example, used as a bake for a chicken dish will transform your regular ol' chicken routine into something adventurous, juicy, and out-of-this-world flavorful.
Much like a butterfly emerges from its cocoon to reveal its beautiful wings, so too will your dish reveal its succulent flavors. We promise, it really is that poetic—give it a try!