In The Kitchen

Aside from all the alchemy that salt performs in terms of baking chemistry and food flavor, salt has a number of other great applications in the kitchen.

Test Egg Freshness

Put two teaspoons of salt in a cup of water and place an egg in it- a fresh egg will sink, an older egg will float. The air cells in an egg increase as it ages, making an older egg more buoyant. This doesn't mean a floating egg is rotten, just more mature. Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it for any displeasing odour or appearance-if it's rotten, your nose will tell you. (Bonus fact: if you have hard-boiled eggs that are difficult to peel, that means they are fresh!)

Set Poached Eggs

Because salt increases the temperature at which water boils, it helps to set the whites more quickly when eggs are dropped into salted water for poaching.

Prevent Fruits From Browning

Most of us use lemon or vinegar to keep peeled apples & pears from browning. You can also drop them in lightly salted water to help them keep their colour.

Prevent Cake Icing Crystals

A little salt added to cake icing prevents the sugar in it from crystallizing.

Remove Odours From Hands

Oniony-garlicky fingers? Try soap and water, then rubbing them on anything made of stainless steel (it really works), but you can also rub your fingers with a pinch of salt and vinegar combo.

Reach High Peaks

Add a tiny pinch of salt when beating egg whites or whipping cream for quicker, higher peaks.

Extend Cheese Life

Prevent mould on cheese by wrapping it in a cloth moistened with salt water before refrigerating.

Save The Bottom Of Your Oven

If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. It won't smoke and smell but will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled.

Personal Care

Extend Toothbrush Life

Soak toothbrushes in salt water before your first use, they'll last longer.

Clean Teeth

Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda --- dip your toothbrush in the mixture and brush as usual. You can also use the same mix dissolved in water for orthodontic applications.

Ease Throat Pain

Mix salt and warm water, and gargle with this to relieve a sore throat.

Rinse Your Mouth

Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda in water for a fresh and deodorizing mouth rinse.

Ease Mouth Problems

For cankers, abscesses, and other mouth sores rinse your mouth with a weak solution of warm salt water several times a day.

Relieve Bee-sting Pain

Ouch? Immediately dampen the area and pack on a small pile of salt to reduce pain and swelling.

Treat Mosquito Bites

A saltwater soak can do wonders for that mosquito-bite itch --- a pinch of salt mixed with olive oil can help, too.

Treat Poison Ivy

Same method as for treating mosquito bites (salt doesn't seem to distinguish between itches).

Have An Exfoliating Massage

After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It freshens skin and boosts circulation.

Around The House

Deter Ants

Sprinkle salt in doorways, on window sills and in cabinet corners. Ants don't like to walk on salt.

Extinguish Grease Fires

Keep a box of salt near your stove or oven. If a grease fire flares up, douse the flames with salt (never use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease). When salt is applied to fire, it acts as a heat sink and dissipates the heat from the fire --- it also forms an oxygen-excluding crust to smother the fire.

Drip-proof Candles

If you soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry well, they will not drip as much when you burn them.

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Make Play Dough

Use 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Stir the flour, cream of tartar, salt and oil and slowly add water. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until the dough becomes stiff. Spread onto wax paper and let it cool. Knead the dough with your hands until it reaches a good dough consistency.

Deter Patio Weeds

If weeds or grass grow between bricks or blocks on your patio, sidewalk or driveways carefully spread salt between the cracks, then sprinkle water or wait for the rain to wet it down.

De-ice Sidewalks And Driveways

This may be one of the oldest tricks in the book! Lightly sprinkle rock salt on walks and driveways to keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement allowing easier shovelling/scraping. But do not overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to plants.

Tame A Wild Barbecue

Toss a bit of salt on flames in barbecue grills to reduce the flames from food drippings and calm the smoke (like water does).

Cleaning

Salt works as an effective yet gentle scouring agent. It also serves as a catalyst for other ingredients, such as vinegar, to boost cleaning and for its deodorizing action. For a basic soft scrub, make a paste with lots of salt, baking soda and dish soap and use on appliances, enamel, porcelain, etc.

Clean Brass or Copper

Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, Rub the paste on the metal. After letting it sit for an hour, clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Clean Sink Drains

Pour salt mixed with hot water down the kitchen sink regularly to deodorize and keep grease from building up.

Remove Water Rings

Gently rub a thin paste of salt and vegetable oil on the white marks caused by beverage glasses and hot dishes on wooden tables.

Clean Stained Cups

Mix salt with a dab of dish soap to make a soft scrub for stubborn coffee and tea stains.

Clean Rust

Mix salt and cream of tartar with just enough water to make a paste. Rub on rust, let it dry, brush off and buff off with a dry, soft cloth. You can also use the same method with a mix of salt and lemon.

Clean A Glass Coffee Pot

Every diner waiters' favourite tip: add salt and ice cubes to a coffee pot, swirl around vigorously and rinse. The salt scours the bottom, and ice helps to agitate it more for a better scrub.

Laundry

Attack Wine Spills

If a tipsy guest trips wine on your cotton or linen table cloth, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with a pile of salt, this will help pull the remaining wine away from the fibre. After dinner, soak the table cloth in cold water for 30 minutes before laundering.

Quell Oversudsing

Although we are very careful in the quality of detergent we use in our laundry, we never have too many suds. but if someone overfills... you can eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt.

Brighten Colours

Wash coloured curtains or washable fibre rugs in salt water solution to brighten the colours. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.

Remove Perspiration Stains

Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains fade away.

Remove Blood Stains

Soak the stained cloth in cold salt water, then launder in warm soapy water and boil after the wash (use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibres that can take high heat).

Clean A Gunky Iron Bottom

Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.

Set Colour

Salt is used commonly in the textile industry but works at home too. If a dye isn't colourfast, soak the garment for an hour in a ½ gallon of water to which you've added ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup salt. Rinse, if the rinse water is still coloured, repeat. Use only on single coloured fabrics. If the item is multi-coloured, dry clean it to avoid running all of the colours together.

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