Salt is one of my favorite ingredients, by far, and also one of the most overlooked foods in the kitchen. This is probably due to the fact that it's an essential component of almost any recipe; because salt is a necessity, it's easy to forget how dynamic and versatile it can be as well.
Salt is not only versatile because it comes in a myriad different forms, each with a unique shape, feel, and taste, but also because its abilities extend far beyond simply seasoning dishes. It's why I always keep a three-pound box of Diamond Krystal kosher salt—you can never have enough salt around.
If you're in a pinch (pardon the bad pun), salt can often save you, such as with these seven little-known salt uses.
Baking in a salt crust requires a lot of salt, but it's a great hack for getting restaurant-level moistness in your fish and poultry dishes.
By making a mixture with the consistency of wet sand out of salt and egg whites (and seasonings, if you prefer), and completely covering a fish, chicken, or duck breast in it, you create an oven within the cover. The salt traps the heat and moisture in the meat, keeping it incredibly moist, while the salt adds a mild, delicious flavor.
Oysters were designed to be absolutely delicious, but they certainly weren't designed to balance on their shells gracefully. When you're serving raw oysters, overcoming this obstacle is easy: you just place them in crushed ice to keep them cold and in place. But that doesn't exactly work when you're baking or grilling oysters. The solution: use rock salt to hold them in place.
There's no way to completely fix a bad cup of coffee. But if you make a cup that's a little too strong or bitter, a tiny pinch of salt can help you miss the bitterness.
Let's face it: everyone has stinky shoes. I don't care if you're Taylor Swift, your shoes still smell. One of the best ways to eliminate the odor is to add a little salt, let it sit, and then wipe it away. The salt extracts the moisture that contains the odor, but be careful: this technique can hurt synthetic or leather shoes.
This hack is quick and easy: add ¼ cup of salt to a quart of water, and soak your sponge in it overnight. This is a cheap and easy way to greatly extend the life of your sponges and cleaning mops.
Salt is also incredibly useful when it comes to cleaning important kitchen equipment. Salt acts as an incredible scrub to help clean and sanitize items without harmful chemicals. Paired with a fresh lemon, salt is the simplest and most natural way to clean and disinfect a cutting board, while salt by itself is the perfect cleaning solution for those hard-to-scrub cast iron pans.
This is probably the coolest hack in this list. Who knew you could kill fleas with salt? Simply pour salt across your carpet and leave it there for 24-48 hours; then vacuum it up and marvel at the amount of dead fleas in it. Here's how it works:
Do you have any more brilliant hacks for using salt?
Believe it or not, there are even more salt hacks out there, whether you want to understand how and when to use fleur de sel (and how to fake it), how pro chefs season their food with just the right amount of salt, and why you should be grilling on a Himalayan salt block. There are many unique uses for Epsom salt, too.