No you don't have to use salt, but salt flavors. In that capacity, you can do without it, but your food will taste very bland at first. It takes about 3 weeks for your taste buds to adjust, but you'll get to a point where you won't mind or notice. And you can use herbs, spices, and vinegars to add flavor.
But be forwarned that salt (like table salt, kosher salt, etc) isn't the only source of sodium in food. Processed foods will often contain preservatives like sodium benzoate which is found in foods such as condiments and soda. A lot of preservatives are found in the sodium-salt form since these will allow the chemical preservative to dissolve in water.
So if you are trying to lower the sodium in your diet, it's best to avoid processed foods since they tend to contain a lot of salt and preservatives. Check your food labels. The sodium content will be listed. I believe the daily allowance of sodium for an adult is ~2400mg which is about 1tsp of salt.
I stopped using salt in cooking about ten years ago. I occasionally sprinkle a pinch as a "top dressing" on the plate for certain items - like fresh tomato slices.You will be surprised with the real flavor of foods once you get used to no salt.
Thank you HalfPint and bigpan. My husband and I have been trying to reduce sodium and already read the labels for it. The next step we are taking is reducing the use of processed foods. I've never been one to cook, so we know this tends to be our downfall. However, I got laid off recently and have decided that I should learn to cook better meals for us, now that I have some time on my hands (in between applying for jobs). We have never really added salt to already prepared meals (processed or in restaurants), so I don't think we will miss it if I leave it out of recipes.
Thanks for your input!
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
You will probably miss it at first! Be ready to feel like the food is bland, and not like it for at least a few weeks. With time your palate will adjust. A potentially less jarring option is to more gradually reduce the salt you use so your palate adjusts and you don't go through a phase where your food tastes insipid.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Since you're just starting to cook for yourself, you might want to check out Sodium Girl's blog. <a href="http://www.sodiumgirl.com/" target="_blank">http://www.sodiumgirl.com/</a>
She has created recipes that taste good without salt, so hers may be a good starting point for you.
You may also want to check out some of the seasoning blends that are no salt. These can add some flavor to help with that blandness. But, be careful as some use Potassium and you can get too much of that. There are several brands of Cajun seasoning that are good. One is Frere Jean Seasoning that has been recommended by a food critic in New Orleans.http://stores.brjohnfoods...
The above advice sounds great! sodium girl's cookbook might also be out or out soon. cooking at home and omitting processed and restaurant food goes a long, long way to cutting sodium - even packaged bread is on the high side! You can try cutting back slowly, adding pinches here and there, or you probably will notice a real difference. For example, the difference in flavor between a can of tomatoes with no added sodium and a regular can is pretty pronounced. Sometimes, in addition to spices, lemon zest and or juice will give a little of what you're missing. good luck!
I had to cut down on sodium about 30 years ago. I didn't notice a difference in recipes when I cut the salt in half, & I hadn't added salt at the table anyway. The toughest thing for me was & is cheese, which is naturally salty. I had to cut down on it, but a little 5 year old cheddar (for example) adds more flavour than a lot of medium cheddar. I used to use canned soups, but I now make my own broth from leftovers or use low- or no- salt commercial broth. Home made French fries can have thyme &/or other herbs for a different but delicious result. I wonder sometimes how some people can taste the food,now, because when I eat their cooking all I taste is salt.
I agree with the above (10 years low sodium). And when you boil pasta or vegetables you don't have to put salt in the boiling water. Little things will reduce a lot
This is great advice. Have you seen Saul the Salt Monster - a funny Facebook campaign about low sodium? Easy to share information that uses humor to get people talking about it.
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