Put this multifunctional kitchen staple to work all around the coach.
By Lowell and Kaye Christie, F47246
Salt is one of the most abundant compounds on earth, and it also is one of the most common ingredients in prepared foods. This month we explore the many uses for salt aside from using it as a seasoning in food. Try some of these tips that we’ve run across recently.
1. Prevent food from turning brown
Some fruits and vegetables can begin turning brown before you get around to eating them. The discoloration may not affect the taste, but the food certainly looks better when it retains its freshly peeled color. If you prepare apples, pears, or potatoes in advance, drop them into cold, lightly salted water as you peel them. Instead of turning brown, they will retain their natural color.
2. Keep salads crisp
Limp lettuce can spoil the enjoyment of a fresh garden salad. But when it’s necessary to prepare food in advance, you can keep the vegetables looking their best by lightly adding salt to the finished salad. This way, the salad will remain crisp for several hours instead of wilting (make that collapsing).
3. Remove wrinkles from apples
Apples have a relatively long storage life, but as they age they have a tendency to develop wrinkles. If you have some wrinkly apples that have been around for a while but still taste good, soak them in slightly salted water and watch those wrinkles disappear.
4. Get rid of slippery ice
There’s a reason salt is used to thaw ice on roads. Salt lowers the freezing point of water and will cause ice to melt as long as the temperature isn’t below about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether it is used on walkways or the steps to your motorhome, you can get rid of icy patches by sprinkling a little salt on the ice.
5. Remove tarnish from copper
Whether you use copper pots for cooking or just for decoration, eventually they will build up a layer of tarnish. To remove the discoloration, combine equal parts of salt, flour, and vinegar to make a paste. Use a soft cloth to rub the paste onto the tarnished spots. Rinse with warm water and buff to a bright new shine.
6. Make wooden cutting boards brighter and odor-free
When you cut up foods such as garlic, onion, or fish on a butcher’s block or cutting board, the odor often remains in the wood. To eliminate the odor and clean the board, rub it with coarse salt and let stand a few minutes. Wipe off the salt and rinse. Salt also can remove these same odors from your hands.
7. Prevent cut flowers from wilting
If you enjoy displaying vases of flowers to brighten up your stationary residence or motorhome, try adding a pinch of salt to the water. It makes the blooms last longer. You also can remove residue left in the vase by the flower stems by using a strong salt solution and a brush. If the vase is too small for a brush, fill the vase with the salt water and vigorously shake the solution to remove the plant stains.
8. Remove water marks from wood
Whenever you have company, does it always seem as though someone manages to leave a glass sitting on a wooden table where it then leaves a ring? To remove water rings from wood surfaces, try this. Combine a teaspoon of salt with just enough water to form a paste. Use a sponge to carefully work the mixture into the discolored surface and wipe the residue away. When the water ring is gone, apply furniture polish to restore the finish.
9. Remove lipstick from drinking glasses
Lipstick is designed to stay on lips, but it also sticks pretty well to drinking glasses. Sometimes even a trip through the dishwasher doesn’t remove the stain. So before washing the glasses, rub the lipstick mark with salt until it disappears. Then wash as usual.
10. Clean out the refrigerator
When it’s time to thoroughly clean the inside of your refrigerator, use a salt mixture instead of a cleaning agent, since the latter might add chemical odors to the food. Mix approximately 1/4-cup of salt in a gallon of warm water, and then use a sponge to wipe down all of the racks and surfaces. The result will be no added smells and a fresh, clean refrigerator.
11. Stop bacon grease from spattering
Cooking bacon can create a mess when grease spatters out of the frying pan. But there is a simple solution. The next time you fry bacon, try adding a pinch of salt to the pan before adding the meat. The salt reacts with the bacon grease to greatly decrease the amount of spattering that occurs. The result will be less pain from flying grease and less mess to clean off the stovetop.
12. Prevent mold on cheese
If you buy cheese in large blocks as we do, it often will start to mold before you finish eating it. Usually you can cut off the moldy sections and treat the remaining cheese with vinegar, but a better solution is to prevent the mold from growing in the first place. The solution is to soak a paper towel or napkin in salt water and wrap it around the cheese before putting it in the refrigerator.
13. Make a scented air freshener
Commercial air fresheners often have scents that are much too strong, but it’s easy to make your own by combining rose petals (or other fragrant blossoms) with salt. Place alternate layers of the flower petals and salt into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cap the jar tightly and open it when you want to freshen up the air in a room.