Himalayan Salt Block: Advantages and Precautions

Salt is a basic ingredient that enhances the flavor of foods and provides them with sodium. It is available in various presentations, such as the Himalayan salt block, which is extracted from the second largest salt mine in the world, located in Khewra, in the mountains of Pakistan.

Nowadays, it has become an interesting way to serve, cook or keep food cold, due to its properties. An article published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry exposes that this block was formed millions of years ago with the movements of the earth that managed to press with force the salt from the drying of the seas.

The soil served as a source of a large amount of minerals that give it its attractive pink color, although according to Bastos and other experts, they can be white or reddish in color. The salt blocks are mined and cut into slabs, boards, blocks, bricks, or bowls.

They become an excellent rotisserie or grill, which can be used to cook different types of meat, fish and vegetables. The best? It adds a natural touch of seasoning. In addition, it serves to keep cold dishes, as it is used as a refrigerator. To know more about it, we will tell you more about this product below.

What types of food are cooked with the Himalayan salt block?

The foods that you can prepare and serve with the Himalayan salt block are varied. These rocks are good conductors of heat And when they reach 260 ºC, you can grill or bake protein dishes on the grill or in your kitchen oven.

Red meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, and cheeses will have a unique flavor.

Vegetables like asparagus and peppers, or fresh fruits like pineapple and watermelon, are also delicious when grilled with this block. It is even useful for baking pizzas, buns, cookies and many other bakery dishes.

Its crystals have a well-ordered molecular structure, spreading heat from high to low temperatures. Thus, you can also use it to keep food cold. Some examples are the following:

  • The Ice creams.
  • Custard.
  • The cheeses.
  • Sausages.
  • The fruits.
  • The sushi.
  • The cakes.

Low temperature curing of fish and meat is also a good option for using Himalayan salt block. Thus, the salt and other minerals will be impregnated slowly and naturally.

Himalayan salt blocks are ideal for cooking various types of meat, fish, cold cuts and even bakery products.

Read also: Types of sushi: know all the varieties that exist

Steps to use the Himalayan salt block

To increase the shelf life of the Himalayan salt block and improve its performance, you can put the tips mentioned below into practice.

Monitor the humidity of the blocks

First, you should make sure that the block is dry enough. This helps prevent moisture from stretching and cracking as it heats up.

Always choose the same side to cook

Identify the top and bottom side so that you always heat on the same side. Thus, you reduce the risks of cracks and fissures when applying heat.

You must temper the surface of the block

When you are going to use the Himalayan Salt Block for the first time, you must heat it slowly and progressively, at least the first 2 times. In this way, you will achieve a stronger and more resistant surface.

Place it in the oven and gradually increase 93ºC every 15 minutes, until it reaches 260ºC or 500ºF. Then you let it cool down to room temperature so the surface strengthens. This process is known as "tempering."

Preheat it before cooking

Once the block is tempered, you must preheat it to no more than 100 ºC for 5 to 6 hours, before taking it to the heat source, be it a grill, oven or electric stove. This will prevent direct heat from cracking or fracturing it.

For grilling

Place the block on a grill or stove and raise the temperature little by little, until it reaches 260 ºC. You can spray a few drops of water on the surface; if it evaporates quickly it is because it has already reached the ideal temperature for roasting. You can also use an infrared thermometer.

When using charcoal for grilling, you should stack it to the side of the grill. This will prevent the food from cooking too quickly or the block from breaking due to high heat.

Spread the food on the surface, and turn with a pair of tongs to avoid toasting or burning. In the case of meats, choose thin cuts, since the thicker the cut, the longer it will cook and the more salt it will absorb.

For baking

To bake food, you must place the preheated block of Himalayan salt on a baking sheet. Never add water to the tray or do it in a water bath. As the ingredients are baked, they acquire a suitable touch of salt.

Cooking on an electric stove

Electric ranges also work with these blocks of salt. Only that you should be careful to secure it with a special metal ring to prevent it from moving.

To serve cold food

It's all a style gourmet serve cold preparations over a block of Himalayan salt. We advise you to put it in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before using it. It will maintain the temperature of ice creams, sorbets, fresh fruits, cheeses or any other food that requires refrigeration or freezing.

Cleaning and caring with the Himalayan salt block

To clean the salt block you should never use soap or water. Remember that you are dealing with salt and it will dissolve at the minimum contact with water or any other liquid.

  • Once it's cool, clean it with a damp sponge, rubbing gently. Let it air dry.
  • If necessary, you can scrub with a soft bristle brush or scouring pad. You must keep it in a dry and cool place, inside a plastic container.
  • When heating it, you should not add any fatty substances such as oil, butter or shortening to the surface, as it will increase the risk of cracks and reduce its useful life.
  • To avoid burning you You should wear heavy duty gloves when handling it after cooking. It keeps warm for a long time. Normal gloves do not protect enough.

Also read: What are the foods richest in sodium?

Benefits of cooking with the Himalayan salt block

When you decide to cook with the Himalayan salt block, you will not only captivate your family and guests with the presentation. You will also bring a series of benefits that you will not achieve with the use of common table salt.

  • Enhance flavor without being invasive: As the surface of the salt block is very dry, the sodium chloride passes slowly into the food and gives a mild salty taste, without being invasive.
  • Provides trace elements: According to some experts, the Himalayan salt block contains more than 80 minerals. However, their amounts are too small to have a direct effect on health. Still, they give a particular flavor to the preparations.
  • Even heat distribution– An interesting advantage is its ability to evenly heat food. This guarantees a shorter cooking time and the preservation of juiciness, texture and flavor.
  • It is a natural preservative: the Mexican Association of the Salt Industry, published that salt is one of the oldest preservatives that exist. In fact, it prevents the growth of food-spoilage microorganisms. However, its preservative power does not replace the application of good hygiene practices when handling food.
  • Keeps preparations warm: the crystals of the Himalayan salt block retain heat for longer. Therefore, they keep meats, vegetables, sausages and others at the perfect temperature for their service.

The Himalayan salt block gives meals a particular flavor. In addition, it preserves its temperature better.

Himalayan salt block contraindications

In some cases, the use of this product is contraindicated. It is clear the block of salt increases sodium levels in meals. The journal Nutrition Clinic and Hospital Diet, points out the relationship between sodium consumption and health.

Therefore, those people who suffer from high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, liver and kidney problems, should skip its use within the kitchen and diet plan.

At the same time, Himalayan salt block is not fortified in iodine like table salt, so its consumption should be monitored, especially in those with thyroid gland disorders.

A product for gourmet dishes

The use of the Himalayan salt block allows to obtain preparations of grade gourmet in its presentation, texture, flavor and cooking, as long as it is used correctly.

Its use should not replace the rules of hygiene and food handling for the preservation of preparations. Nor should it be overrated as a source of minerals other than sodium.