Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride, a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in the form of a natural crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite. Salt is present in vast quantities in seawater
What is salt made of?
To most people, salt refers to table salt, which is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride forms from the ionic bonding of sodium ions and chloride ions. There is one sodium cation (Na+) for every chloride anion (Cl–), so the chemical formula is NaCl
Secret History of Salt
The history of the world according to salt is simple: animals wore paths to salt licks; men followed; trails became roads, and settlements grew beside them. When the human menu shifted from salt-rich game to cereals, more salt was needed to supplement the diet. But the underground deposits were beyond reach, and the salt sprinkled over the surface was insufficient. Scarcity kept the mineral precious. As civilization spread, salt became one of the world’s principal trading commodities.
Salt routes crisscrossed the globe. One of the most travelled led from Morocco south across the Sahara to Timbuktu. Ships bearing salt from Egypt to Greece traversed the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Herodotus describes a caravan route that united the salt oases of the Libyan desert. Venice’s glittering wealth was attributable not so much to exotic spices as to common place salt, which Venetians exchanged in Constantinople for the spices of Asia. In 1295, when he first returned from Cathay, Marco Polo delighted the Doge with tales of the prodigious value of salt coins bearing the seal of the great Khan. secret history of salt
As early as the 6th century, in the sub-Sahara, Moorish merchants routinely traded salt ounce for ounce for gold. In Abyssinia, slabs of rock salt, called ‘amôlés, became coin of the realm. Each one was about ten inches long and two inches thick. Cakes of salt were also used as money in other areas of central Africa.
Not only did salt serve to flavour and preserve food, it made a good antiseptic, which is why the Roman word for these salubrious crystals (Sal) is a first cousin to Salus, the goddess of health. Of all the roads that led to Rome, one of the busiest was the Via Salaria, the salt route, over which Roman soldiers marched and merchants drove oxcarts full of the precious crystals up the Tiber from the salt pans at Ostia. A soldier’s pay—consisting in part of salt—came to be known as solarium argentum, from which we derive the word salary. A soldier’s salary was cut if he “was not worth his salt,” a phrase that came into being because the Greeks and Romans often bought slaves with salt.
During the Middle Ages, the ancient sanctity of salt slid toward superstition. The spilling of salt was considered ominous, a portent of doom. (In Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, the scowling Judas is shown with an overturned saltcellar in front of him.) After spilling salt, the spiller had to cast a pinch of it over his left shoulder because the left side was thought to be sinister, a place where evil spirits tended to congregate.
The social symbolism of salt was painfully evident in the medieval equivalents of the Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette. As late as the 18th century, the rank of guests at a banquet was gauged by where they sat in relation to an often-elaborate silver saltcellar on the table. The host and “distinguished” guests sat at the head of the table—”above the salt.” People who sat below the salt, farthest from the host, were of little consequence.
The main functional of salt in food processing and food production go well beyond taste.
Salt is perhaps most well-known for its roles as a flavouring agent and as a food preservative in both home cooking and food processing. Below are a few of the main functional of salt in food production.
Salt Functionality in Food (secret history of salt)
Salt is perhaps most well-known for its roles as a flavouring agent and as a food preservative. Below are a few of the main functional properties of salt in food production.
Salt acts as a preservative by altering the availability of water in foods, thereby depriving microbes from using available water as a nutrient. The growth of pathogens and spoilage organisms is impeded when salt is present.
When making yeast breads, the amount of salt greatly affects the final texture of the bread. Salt alters the structure of proteins and the interaction of proteins with other components (e.g. water, fat, proteins), which impacts the texture of foods. If the proper amount of salt is added, Cheeses can have more body, meats can be juicier, and breads can be firmer.
People often desire that foods have a “salty” flavour – but salt can also enhance other flavours, such as savory notes. It balances sweetness and helps suppress other flavours, such as bitterness.
Salt contains the element sodium, which is an essential nutrient needed by the body in small amounts. Salt functionality in food as among of the micro nutrients make the body activities goes well.
When salt is added to processed meats, it restructures the proteins, which then act as a binding and emulsifying agent. The new protein structure helps to hold the product together and helps to prevent moisture and fat loss.
Effects of salt
The body uses sodium to maintain fluid levels. A balance of fluid and sodium is necessary for the health of the heart, liver, and kidneys. It regulates blood fluids and prevents low blood pressure. The effects of salt might lead to death if left untreated
Small amount of salt
Low sodium levels can result if there is too much fluid in the body, for example, because of fluid retention. Diuretics are given in this case, to reduce fluid retention.
Other effects of salt in low amount in the body include:
- Addison disease
- a blockage in the small intestine
- diarrhea and vomiting
- an underactive thyroid
- heart failure
- drinking too much water
If sodium levels fall in the blood, this affects brain activity. The person may feel sluggish and lethargic. They may experience muscle twitches, followed by seizures, a loss of consciousness, coma, and death. If sodium levels fall quickly, this may happen very fast.
Large amount of salt
Excess sodium intake has been linked to health problems, such as osteoporosis, kidney disease, and hypertension, or high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The effects of salt depend on intake. Most Americans eat too much of it—and they may not even know it. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of table salt! How much salt intake per day should be the thing in Mind when one is cooking.