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Seven ways to remove excess salt from food

Cooking Tips By Esther Muchene
Too much salt can make food inedible (Photo: Shutterstock)

There’s literally nothing more annoying than putting too much salt in your food by mistake. It’s even worse when you end up dumping the whole packet of salt when you’re cooking a family meal because now, everyone will notice.

I used to always think there’s nothing you can do when this happens. I assumed that I just had to soldier on and try not to cringe with every bite.

And if it has just happened while you were cooking, the first step is to scoop out what you can before the salt starts to dissolve into your food. If it’s too late, you have this list of solutions.

  1. Dilute with water

This is the fastest and simplest way to reduce the salt in your food. It’s basically a way of diluting or rinsing out the salt as damage control. Pour out some of the soup if it’s a stew and replace with some water. If it’s something like fried steak, give it a quick rinse then put it back into the pan. This method might interfere with the flavor so just add a few more spices to restore the taste.

  1. Add more ingredients

Doubling the portion will also mask the saltiness in your food. By adding some more ingredients like carrots, potatoes and vegetables, the salt will be absorbed into the new batch of ingredients you’ve just added. No one will even notice that there was a problem earlier.

Natural acid like lemon juice will cancel out the saltiness in your dish (Photo: Shutterstock)
  1. Add some dairy

Dairy products will remove excess salt and give your food more flavor. This is perfect for a variety of dishes including stew, rice and pasta. Choose cow’s milk, yoghurt, cream or even coconut milk, although technically it’s not a dairy product. The coconut milk will flavor your rice and yoghurt will give your stew a creamy texture. Just make sure you use plain yoghurt because the flavored ones will ruin your dish.

  1. Pour something sweet

This will also mask the salt in your food by balancing out the flavor in it. Most people choose white sugar, honey or brown sugar .They all do the same thing. Add one tea spoon at a time as you taste the food or add more depending on how much food you’re preparing. Be careful with this because you don’t want to end up with sugary food.

  1. Lemon juice

Natural acid like lemon juice will cancel out the saltiness in your dish. Cut one lemon in half and squeeze the juice in your dish while it’s cooking. It might not remove the salt necessarily, but it does a great job at balancing it out.

Adding milk will not only reduce the saltiness but add flavour to the food (Photo: Shutterstock)
  1. Vinegar

Vinegar is also acidic so it will remove the excess salt. It’s a good solution especially if you’ve over salted your salad. There’s no need to start over. Pour one or two tea spoons in and mix well to ensure that the saltiness has been masked.

  1. Skip the potato myth

Adding potato pieces has been recommended in the past but over time, this has been proved to be a myth. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you put in raw pieces of potato or cooked pieces because it doesn’t really absorb the excess salt. You can add some if you’re trying to double the portion but it won’t do a great job when you’re using it in other dishes for the sole purpose of removing excess salt.

You should always make sure that the cap of your container is tightened before you salt your dish. There are many instances where the food was over salted because the cap accidentally fell off. Another tip is to take your time when cooking. Doing things in a hurry increases your chances of experiencing such mistakes

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