June 2024 Food Challenge: Salt and Pepper 🧂

Pepper on many things, more or less as I think of it rather than as a “must have”, unless it’s part of the recipe.

I use River Murray salt on meat and salmon before I bbq it.

For anything else we cook, I will put a twist of the salt grinder on fish (especially oceanic fish), potatoes when boiled or steamed on the olive oil or occasionally butter that’s put over the potatoes, and eggs however they are cooked.

We almost never add salt to food we are cooking other than pasta.

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I have S & P on majority of food, but not on Asian or Indian foods

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I don’t cook, only scrambled eggs or omelettes. I only use garlic salt. I’ve been a vegetarian all my life and my staple diet is: excellent bread (Black Cockatoo in Blue Mountains), variety of cheeses, eggs, fruit and vegetables.

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Cooked tomatoes and a boiled egg get salt and pepper, but never salt anything that I haven’t tasted first unless I cooked it and know that I hadn’t already added salt.

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Indeed! A good reason to only buy iodised salt.

The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones influence metabolism. They are essential for the development and function of the brain, nerves and bones. A healthy diet needs enough iodine, but too much can also cause health problems.

Pregnant women in particular need to get enough, otherwise cretinism of the foetus can occur with severe deficiency, characterised by profound mental retardation. Also early childhood.

NSW, Vic and Tasmania have mild deficiency in their soils.
See e.g. The prevalence and severity of iodine deficiency in Australia

I avoid Himalayan salt having read a number of reports of contaminants in Himalayan salt, some of which are quite toxic.

Such as the price.

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Not price. I’m talking about the findings of lead and cadmium. In a study by from memory, the National Institute for Health: “One pink salt sample contained a level of lead (>2 mg/kg) that exceeded the national maximum contaminant level set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand”.

This will be the paper:

And a media article debunking that pink salt is healthier…

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Especially if you’re not regularly eating a couple of slices of commercial bread a day.

Since 2009, it has been mandatory in Australia and New Zealand to use iodised salt for making all commercial breads except organic and bread mixes, and manufacturers are allowed to use iodised salt in other foods as well.

The population’s iodine status has improved considerably in both countries since the mandatory standard was introduced.

Iodine Fortification | Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Iodine fortification

Iodine is a naturally occurring mineral and an essential nutrient for life. It is found in the food we eat and the water we drink. Adequate intakes of dietary iodine by Australians, particularly females of child-bearing age and breast-feeding mothers is important for health and to reduce possible iodine-deficiency health problems such as impaired neurological function in babies and young children.

Mandatory iodine fortification was implemented in Australia in 2009 through Standard 2.1.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code which required the replacement of non-iodised salt with iodised salt for making all breads except organic bread and bread mixes for making bread at home. Mandatory iodine fortification of bread was intended to address the re-emergence of iodine-deficiency in some areas of Australia and New Zealand.

To create alternative dietary iodine sources for people who don’t eat bread, manufacturers have the opportunity to use iodised salt in other foods. The voluntary fortification permissions in the Code allow manufacturers to add iodised salt to bread mixes and other foods if they wished, but labelling requirements must be adhered to in that regard.

Iodised salt must be listed in the ingredient list of food labels where it has been used.

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One sample had lead content over the limit and while it was pink it was not Himalayan, being from Peru.

I do agree that no food product sold ought to be over any heavy metal limit. The salt that is over should be taken off the market.

There are several “Peruvian pink” salts on the market but I cannot tell if they are the one tested that had excess lead. How dangerous it is to the individual would depend on their overall exposure to lead.

Some claim to be harvested from a “sacred valley” - oh give me spirituality in small spoon!

But it isn’t fair to say “Stay away from Himalayan salt due to heavy metal toxicity” because that isn’t quite what is happening.

My preference would be to say:

  • that the purported health benefits are exaggerated or not there,
  • it is too expensive considering you are paying for impurities and colour
  • some pink salt has been found to be risky due to excessive lead.

So there are plenty of reasons to stay away from pink salt.

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Thanks for the link.
It looks like 1 of the 31 samples collected in Australia had a high level of lead.
I’ve been slowly working my way through one kilo over the past 15+ years (including giving quite a lot of it away).
Time to throw it out.

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If one must have pink salt - we do eat with our eyes!

The genius of marketing is enough of us consumers fall for the cunning of a great line in the advertising. The sum of exaggeration and misdirection through omission of inconvenient facts.

It’s true we do need some natural salt in our diet. Around 5gms or one teaspoon a day is the recommended daily intake. We also need an adequate intake of minerals including iodine (added to some salt and food products), potassium and calcium. The last two are commonly in dairy based products and many seafoods.

The following marketing example is not being dishonest. The majority of Australian’s get adequate amounts of salt and essential minerals from a balanced diet (everyday food). It’s simply avoiding pointing out those facts.

If pink salt completes the culinary experience and visual appeal of the fine dining experience - one of numerous Aussie options at $35.80 per kg.

We might call it a fully loaded salt … marketing spin included to justify the premium price.

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Baking Bread

I bake my own bread and in a 1kg loaf my own recipe has just 6g of salt and 6g of white sugar.
When you compare that to pre-baked loaves from the supermarket who sell bread with up to 20 times that amount in the ingredients.
A check of some recipes on line from overseas have even more.

As they say “Everything in Moderation”.

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Potato, pasta and rice have salt added while cooking. Anything else is salted or peppered before
eating.

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What about exchange cooking; stews, curries, soups etc? Or crumbed and fried foods, do you never season the flour or crumbs? Or braising, where you start by frying protein and then add liquid to make a sauce? There are many situations where seasoning is appropriate during cooking other than starches.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Bread : What brand / type do you buy?