Old-Fashioned Uses for Salt

Salt has a number of uses around the home, including scouring smelly pans, whipping up a salt brine, crafting homemade facial scrubs and more.

| December 2014/January 2015

Uses For Salt

These old-time uses for salt cover everything from cleaning fish to scouring pans.

Photo by Fotolia/ogichobanov

I grew up in the classroom of my grandmother’s kitchen back in the 1950s and ’60s, way before old-fashioned kitchen techniques came in vogue. We were always canning, putting up something, making do with something else, and using every bit of the yard for either beautifying our world or feeding our family. The kitchen was the center of our world, and everything seemed to either begin or end in that kitchen. It was full of everything we needed, sans the fancy gadgets seen in kitchens today.

We had delicious, simple food without having to buy a new ingredient for each recipe. Our recipes were memorized or written on index cards that I now cherish like gold. Each card had comments and suggestions for how to improve the recipe, or compliments on what worked well. I was the sous chef, cutting vegetables, measuring ingredients, getting eggs to room temperature and preheating the oven. Everyone had a job to do, but it wasn’t really work, it was community — family time to talk and visit, to catch up with one another before life ran by too fast.

One of the most frequently used ingredients in our family recipes was salt. Because we cooked from scratch, salt was not already in most of our ingredients, and we had better control over how much sodium each dish contained. We bought salt in bulk, and we added a teaspoon of rice to the salt shaker to prevent the salt from caking up in our humid Southern kitchen.

12 Uses for Salt in the Kitchen

Here are 12 examples of the myriad ways we put salt to work in my grandmother’s kitchen:

1. We sprinkled salt on frying pans to prevent fish — especially skinned fish — from sticking to the pan.

2. We soaked our turkeys and rabbits in salt brine before baking.

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