Spice It Up

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Article Written By

Jacob Lilje FCS Intern

Salt is one of the most common additives to food. According to eatright.org, it is recommended that people ages fourteen and older consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. 2,300 milligrams of salt comes out to roughly one mere teaspoon. In America, we like our food sweet and salty, and consuming no more than one teaspoon of salt a day can prove to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, with so much food being prepackaged, the amount of salt in a particular food cannot be changed. This is why cooking at home can prove to be an important and healthy necessity.

If salt is only meant to be consumed in small amounts, what can we do to add some flavor to our food? The answer is simple: spices and herbs. There are countless spices and herbs out in the world, and there is something for everybody. If you are a spicy food connoisseur like myself, there are a plethora of spices to choose from. Some of these spices include Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, and Habanero, all of which have added health benefits. Another salt alternative is lemon and lime juice. It is also important to add spices and herbs to your children’s dishes early on because it will ensure that their taste buds develop in such a way that they will be more prone to eating a variety of different foods as an adult. Aromatics such as garlic and onion are also excellent ways to flavor dishes without being heavy-handed on the salt and can be used for baking, roasting, grilling, and sautéing meats.

Another culinary must-have is vinegar. There are many types of vinegar that have various tastes and smells and offer great enhancements in flavor. Vinegar can also be used to marinate meats, thus enhancing the flavor as well as breaking down the meat. Vinegar can also be used to pickle vegetables which is often used as a preservation technique.

If you absolutely need salt for your dishes, don’t panic. You can utilize the enhancement technique by simply adding salt as a flavor enhancer. First, you will need to create your herb and spice mix according to the flavor profile that you want. A flavor profile is a group of spices, herbs, aromatics, vinegar, fruits, and vegetables used to resemble a certain cuisine. Once this is achieved, season your food accordingly. There are two approaches that are taken when it comes to salting for flavor enhancement. The first is salting immediately after your seasoning mix has been added to the food item. The second is simply adding the salt after cooking your food item. Visit “Medinsteadofmeds.com” in order to gain some ideas on how to use spices and herbs to flavor recipes.

References:

Ansel, Contributors: Karen, and Esther Ellis. “Family Dinners for a Healthy Heart.” EatRight, 3 Feb. 2022, https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/family-dinners-for-a-healthy-heart.

Ellis, Contributors: Esther. “The Facts on Sodium and High Blood Pressure.” EatRight, 1 Feb. 2021, https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/the-facts-on-sodium-and-high-blood-pressure.

The Sodium Content of Your Food. Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Texas A & M University System, 1987.

Written By

Vince Webb, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionVince Webb, Jr.Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Vince Email Vince N.C. Cooperative Extension, Guilford County Center
Updated on Apr 6, 2022
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