Finishing Salts & Artisan Salt, finishing salts, what is finishing salt, salt cellar, Maine sea salt,

If You Crave Salt You May Be A 'Supertaster'!

When we opened the Salt Cellar in November of 2011 we knew we were in for some surprises. One thing we learned was that a large number of people, upon seeing our salt tasting room, would blurt with enthusiasm "I really love salt!" We hear these same exclamations nearly every day but have never understood why some people have such a powerful affinity for salt. Until now. In a study conducted by Penn State University and published in the journal Psychology & Behavior they discovered that about 1 in 4 people is a 'supertaster'. In short, a supertaster is genetically enabled with taste sensitivity that may be 10 to 100 times more acute than others. In other words some folks will get a very powerful reaction to tastes that others will not. They did note that supertasters tended not to like foods that were identified as bitter in taste like broccoli or some cheeses. Applying salt to bitter tasting food effectively masks the bitterness and makes the food more enjoyable. While some people react mildly to a slightly bitter taste a supertaster gets a powerful negative reaction. You can read more about supertasters at this Science Daily article. So if your child is a chronic picky-eater it just may be she or he is a super taster (and a salt lover)? Cheers! Don
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All Himalayan cooking salt blocks are not created equal

All Himalayan cooking salt blocks are not created equal

There is a lot of interest in using Himalayan salt blocks for cooking these days. But it important to know that most salt blocks, even the biggest and most expensive, are not worth the investment.

We order hundreds of Himalayan salt blocks and only about 10% are candidates for cooking. That's because most blocks have substantial cracks or mineral deposits that will cause the block to shatter when subjected to high heat. Usually the poor quality block will self-destruct during its initial burn in although it may last a couple of outings. At the Salt Cellar we've decided that each tile we sell for cooking needs to be broken-in, or 'cured', by us. We do this for for a number of reasons.

First, the procedure involves a couple of hours to do it right. We need to heat the tiles gradually up to a temperature of 500 degrees and then let it cool down. This this takes several hours and it makes sense of us to do a whole batch of them at once.

Second, sometimes even good-looking blocks are really flawed and they break apart during burn-in. Last, it is possible that a block contains a small amount of water. If this is the case the block may literally explode (as one did in my oven last week!). Interesting. So as a safety issue we'll take some of the 'excitement' out of the process for you.

Once the block has been successfully cured it can be heated to operating temperature much more quickly. Still, it is a good idea to start on a low temperature to get the tile warmed up. Then you can turn up the throttle. Wait until the block is fully heated before tossing on the fish or meat.



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Portsmouth Store Himalayan Salt

Welcome to Cellartalk!

Salt is a pretty basic thing in our lives that most of us don't think about too much.

We take it for granted that all salt is pretty much the same and plays a limited role in helping improve the taste of food or keeping ice off the pavement. So when Judit and I launched the Salt Cellar in Portsmouth last November (2011) we had a big job to do: educate our visitors about the fantastic possibilities of salt in all of its forms. To explore the many ways salt is used in other cultures and find new, fun uses for this fascinating mineral.

The purpose of this blog is to answer the many questions that people ask us in the Salt Cellar every day. We'll talk about Himalayan cooking blocks, international artisan finishing salts, flavor infused sea salts, recipes, pairings and health. We'll discuss the many uses of salt for the care of our skin and our airways. We'll also talk about the great places in the world that salt is celebrated, its storied history and fun facts.

We encourage you to join the discussion, ask your questions, question our answers and add your comments and corrections.

-Don & Judit

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