Salt can be used in a number of ways. In cooking, it is used to season food or as a preservative. It is used in a number of home-made cleaning products and remedies. It can also be used in the garden.
One of the most well-known uses of salt is to flavor or tenderize food. Salt is used in most recipes and can be found in both savory dishes such as casseroles and stews and sweet dished such as cookies and cakes. The primary reason is that salt actually strengthens the flavors of other ingredients in the dish. It is often added to boiling water in which potatoes, vegetables or pasta will be cooked. In bread, salt helps control the rate at which the yeast ferments.
Salt is also a popular preservative. Before refrigeration, pork and other meats were often heavily salted to keep the meat fresh. The salted meat had to be soaked in water for long periods to remove the excess salt and make it palatable. Food preservation remains one of the main uses of salt today. Commercial manufacturing facilities add salt to most shelf-stable goods to increase their shelf life.
Cleaning is another of the uses of salt. The shape of salt crystals makes them a natural, but relatively gentle, abrasive. Salt is commonly used to clean items that cannot be washed with soap, such as cast iron pans. Salt mixed with natural citrus juice makes a safe and natural metal cleaner and is particularly effective on copper. Mixing vinegar and salt creates an all-purpose cleaner. Salt and water mixtures can remove coffee, tea and wine stains.
Salt is also handy for cleaning up spills. The mess created by a dropped egg becomes easy to wipe up when covered in salt and allowed to sit for about 20 minutes. Another of the uses of salt is to control suds spewing from either an overflowing washing machine or from a dishwasher in which the wrong kind of detergent has been used.
Many uses of salt occur in the yard and garden. Salt can help control common household pests such as fleas and ants. It can also be used to kill poison ivy and other weeds. Drilling a hole into an unwanted tree stump and filling it with salt will kill the stump over time.
Salt also has some unusual and unexpected uses. Wetting a bee sting and covering it with salt is said to relieve the pain. The freshness of an egg can be tested with by placing the egg into a salt and water mixture. Fresh eggs will sink.