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Himalayan salt is rock salt or halite from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Numerous health claims have been made concerning himalayan salt, but there is no scientific evidence that it has better effects or healthier than common table salt and the claims are considered pseudoscience
- Detoxifies the body by balancing systemic pH.
- Improves hydration by providing trace minerals.
- Improves mineral status of the body.
- Reduces muscle cramps by improving minerals and hydration.
- Helps balance blood sugar.
A Total Guide to Himalayan Salt Blocks: Benefits, Uses, Cooking Tips, Cleaning, and Storing
Salt block cooking may be a new concept for some people, but it is definitely one to explore. Aside from them being very attractive – who isn’t enamoured by that beautiful blushed pink hue of salt that’s been kissed by the Himalayan sun? – cooking on a salt block has a range of benefits over more traditional methods.
HERE IS YOUR TOTAL GUIDE TO HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCKS. WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BENEFITS OF HIMALAYAN PINK SALT, THE DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN USE A SALT BLOCK, AND SOME TIPS FOR USING, CLEANING AND STORING YOUR BLOCK.
WHAT ARE HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCKS?
As their name suggests, Himalayan salt blocks are large slabs of Himalayan pink salt that have been carved specifically for use in cooking. They come in a range of sizes and serve as a unique way to cook, cure, chill and present food.
Many regard Himalayan pink salt as the King of Salts. It is an unrefined, unprocessed raw mineral mined from caves formed 250 million years ago in the Himalayan mountain range. The salt from these mines has experienced tremendous pressure over the years, and for this reason is extremely pure.
While chemically similar to standard table salt (sodium chloride, or NaCl), Himalayan pink salt is packed with trace minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are responsible for its gorgeous pink hue. They also impart an intriguing flavour, and a range of perks that make it highly sought after.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING HIMALAYAN PINK SALT?
There are a number of reasons that Himalayan pink salt is widely regarded as being superior to standard table salt, and many of these are health-related.
- A natural source of sodium – Aside from being an essential element of most savoury dishes, sodium plays a very important role in ours body’s daily function, essential for everything from blood pressure, to muscle and nerve function. Himalayan salt is an excellent source of natural sodium, free from anti-caking agents (such as sodium aluminosilicate or magnesium carbonate), or additives imparted during the refinement process.
- Rich source of trace minerals – Himalayan salt is a source of over 80 trace minerals in addition to the sodium and chloride which comprises its core, including iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and copper.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCKS?
More and more people are reaching for salt blocks in the kitchen, and for good reason. Not only do they look beautiful (and are sure to impress your dinner guests), cooking with a Himalayan salt block has a range of benefits.
- Fantastic heat resistance and distribution – Salt blocks are extremely resistant to heat, which not only makes them brilliant for both high- and low-temperature cooking, but also means the heat is distributed more evenly, which is exactly what you want from any cooking surface.
- Imparts healthy minerals to food – By cooking on a Himalayan salt block, your food will be infused with the 80+ minerals found in the salt. Not only are these healthy, they will also impart a more complex flavour profile to your food.
- A delicate, yet full-bodied salt flavour – The low porosity of salt blocks mean they retain very little moisture. These two factors mean that using a salt block slowly gives your food a delicate salt flavour, rather than overpowering it.
- Retains heat for longer – The crystalline structure of salt blocks ensure they retain heat for longer, which is excellent for resting meats, or for serving food and keeping it warm. Just be careful when carrying your hot block!
- A natural anti-microbial surface – The low porosity and moisture retention of salt blocks mean they are a naturally anti-microbial surface that discourages bacterial growth, which makes it an excellent option for serving!
WHAT ARE THE USES FOR A HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCK?
Himalayan salt blocks can be used a number of different ways in the kitchen – you’ll be blown away by their versatility.
Cooking – Salt blocks can be used for cooking just about anything: meats, seafood, vegetables, baking, pizzas, eggs. You can use them indoors on your stovetop or oven, or outside on the grill or BBQ.
Chilling – Try resting or chilling foods in the fridge on a salt block to give them a mild, delicious salty flavour.
Curing – Salt blocks are brilliant for either partially or fully curing meat or fish. The salinity of the block will begin working when food comes in contact with a block, meaning you can make everything from gravlax (slightly cured salmon) to beef jerky.
Presenting – How about using a salt block to present a delicious serving of sashimi, or a charcuterie plate, or even a scoop or two of ice-cream?
HOW DO YOU USE A HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCK?
Make Sure You Know Which Is The Top and Which The Bottom
It is important to always cook on the same side of the block. This will ensure the same side will always be heated, which will discourage cracking and fissures, ensuring you and your block a long and fruitful relationship together.
How To Temper Your Block
The first couple of times you use your block, heat it slowly. This will ensure it retains its strength for longer and will improve it as a cooking surface – a process known as tempering. It is very simple and usually involves placing it in the oven then gradually increasing the temperature in 15 minute increments until it reaches very high heat (usually 500 degrees). You then allow the block to cool to room temperature. Make sure you read your block’s specific instructions for tempering.
HOW TO COOK ON YOUR BLOCK
Here are a few tips for cooking on your block:
- Make sure it is completely dry and at room temperature before you begin heating.
- Ensure it is very hot before cooking – around 400-500 degrees.
- Once the desired temperature is reached, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. Then it is ready to use.
- Don’t over-season your food before cooking on the block (for obvious reasons).
- Fast cooking foods work best – thick cuts will take too long to cook, and in the end will be too salty. Choose thin cuts!
HOW TO CLEAN AND STORE A HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCK?
When it comes to salt blocks, cleaning is a very delicate process. First and foremost, don’t use soap, and don’t put it in your dishwasher!
Allow it to cool first, then wipe it down softly with a moist sponge (not soaking wet one), scrub with a brush or scourer if need be, and pat dry immediately. Then allow to air-dry for as long as needed. The antimicrobial properties of salt keep the block clean with no need for soap. Keep the block as dry as possible and never submerge in water. You don’t want the salt to dissolve!
Once clean and dry, store it somewhere cool and dry. And if you live in a particularly humid climate, wrap the block in plastic wrap to prevent moisture pooling.
A Himalayan salt block will give you a new, creative way of cooking. Not only will it make your food sing, it will be sure to impress your family and guests too. Have a look at our range here and read more about using your salt block here. The creative options for salt block cooking are practically endless, so get busy!