Have you ever tried cooking with Himalayan salt blocks? I saw somebody doing this on the TV late last year and instantly put “salt block” on my Christmas list. Jonnie obliged with a beautiful block and with all that has gone on this year it has been a few months before I have had a chance to use it.
If you don’t know about these blocks, let me bring you up to speed with my top ten reasons about why you should consider having one in your kitchen.
The Himalayas – the tallest mountains in the world – span 2400 kilometers across Asia where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates join. 250 million years ago the whole area was covered by a primordial sea, within which existed a perfect, pristine ecosystem. As the plates of the earth moved, pushing the Himalayas upward, the sea evaporated and the remaining minerals crystallized under the heat of the sun to form what we now call Himalayan Salt
Because of all these conditions the sea salts became one of the best sources of natural minerals on the planet and are so much healthier than the bleached and processed table salt that most of us know and love.
We used ours recently to cook camembert in a crust and it was incredible. We also cooked some dates alongside it to use to dip into the melted cheese and the flavour of the cheese definitely continued to develop as it sat on the table.
Adds healthy minerals
If you add food to a salt block and cook the food on it, those healthy minerals within the salt block become absorbed by the food. Obviously this varies depending on the length of cooking time and temperature, and the food being cooked, but research has showed that the minerals absorbed have a positive effect on digestion and reducing acid reflux
Ever seen those terrifying videos of how many germs can lurk on a chopping board? You will never have those worries with a salt block, its low porosity and moisture retention creates an anti microbial environment
A Hint of Salt, Not A Lot
The properties of these salt block mean that when you use them your food is not overwhelmed with a flavour of salt. It imparts its flavour rather than punching it into the food.
More Complex Taste Than Table Salt
As well as the usual components of salt (sodium and chloride) there are 80 additional trace minerals, all adding to the flavour.
Extreme Temperature Resistance
Himalayan Salt Blocks need to be looked after (wiped clean after use, not soaked in water) and if heated this needs to be done slowly. It can be heated to over 1500 degrees F, but this must be done slowly or the block will crack. As long as they only heated up slowly (approximately 200 degrees every 10 minutes)
Holds Temperatures for longer
Whether the block is being used to cook on, or as a cold platter for displaying food, it will hold its temperature evenly for an extended period of time.
Superb Heat Distribution
Heat spreads evenly through the entire block rather than just radiating out from the middle and getting cooler toward the edges due to the crystalline structure of the block. Food prepared on the block will cook at the same speed, whether it’s in the middle or on the edge.
Raw food placed on the block will cure on contact, you can watch it happening! Really cool if you like sashimi.
You can use it hot or cold
As mentioned above, you can either use it for cooking (all sorts of foods can be cooked on it, there are whole recipe books dedicated to cooking on these salt blocks) or you can use it to display cold foods. Either way it makes quite the centre piece of a table laden with food.
Photos of Salt Blocks courtesy of Shutterstock