Himalayan Salt Blocks Are Smart and Beautiful
You’ve probably heard about some of the magical things a Himalayan salt LAMP can do for you.
But have you heard of the wonders of the Himalayan pink salt block? Or perhaps the idea of cooking on a big brick of sunset-hued crystal is totally new to you.
Either way, you’re in the right place.
Not only do these colorful prehistoric crystals make healthier, tastier and more interesting meals, Himalayan salt blocks (also called salt plates) are also just darn pretty to look at!
Not enough, you say?
Here are the top reasons that the Himalayan pink salt block is a must-have natural health tool that everyone needs in their kitchen.
Header image: Zenware Himalayan Block
A Salt Block Adds Healthy Minerals to Food
Cooking on a pink salt block naturally imparts the incredible health benefits of Himalayan pink salt into your food.
These health benefits include balancing your body’s pH, stabilizing hydration levels, improving digestion and reducing acid reflux.
Of course, the amount of salt that is absorbed depends on a number of factors – moisture level, thickness and oil content of the food being prepared, as well as the temperature of the block being a few of the major determinants.
You’ll Add A New Level of Flavor to Meals
In addition to NaCl (plain old table salt), Himalayan pink salt contains over 80 trace minerals and other elements.
Not only does this make HPS better for your health, it also has a much more complex flavor.
Meals prepared on a Himalayan salt block will take on some of that complexity, turning familiar foods into a new and interesting experience.
Just The Right Amount of Salt (Not Too Much!)
Himalayan pink salt crystals have very low porosity and minimal moisture retention.
Because of these two traits, your Himalayan salt board won’t transform food into an unbearable salty mess.
Instead, your pink salt block will impart just a hint of its very interesting salt flavor into your food.
It’s Naturally Anti-Microbial
Unlike other food-preparation and cooking surfaces, you’ll never have to worry about germs on a Himalayan pink salt block.
This is also due to the low porosity and moisture retention of the salt which creates a naturally anti-microbial environment (see the Use & Care section below for some quick cleaning tips).
It Resists Extreme Temperatures
In order to prevent cracking of the surface, salt blocks must be heated slowly (no more than 200 ºF per 15 minutes.)
That said, Himalayan pink salt also has extreme temperature resistance with a melting point of just over 800 C (a little under 1500 ºF) making it excellent for high-heat cooking!
Just be sure to have a good solid salt block holder for safe carrying of your super-hot HPS block.
It Provides Superior Heat Distribution
Due to the crystalline structure of Himalayan pink salt, heat spreads evenly through the entire block instead of radiating out from the middle and cooling toward the edges.
Food prepared on the block will cook at the same pace whether it be in exact center, in a corner or anywhere in between.
It Holds Temperature Longer
Because of its crystalline structure, Himalayan pink salt blocks hold their temperature – whether it be hot or cold – longer than other cooking and serving surfaces.
This means you won’t have to worry about food prepared on your salt block getting cold or too warm while you finish up any accompanying dishes.
Use It Hot or Cold, All Year Round
While most of us probably got our salt blocks with the idea to cook food on them, some of the most interesting dishes you will prepare (and serve!) on your block are those best served cold.
If you’re anything like me and you love sashimi, the pink salt block will be your new best friend.
Imagine serving sake, hamachi and maguro arranged artfully on a chilled pink salt block.
Your friends will be talking about it for months!
Food Cures on Contact
Raw foods like sashimi will actually begin to cure the longer they rest on the salt block. This is actually fascinating to watch for both children and adults!
You Can Use It As A Serving Platter
These blocks are so beautiful and intriguing that it is almost impossible to not use them as serving platters.
Mark Bitterman – American food writer and owner of The Meadow – captured this idea perfectly when he said:
“There is a tactility and an immediacy to having this giant white hot block of 600-million-year-old salt on a table that turns us all into apes. It’s just this gorgeous, luminous thing.”
Use and Care of Your Himalayan Salt Block
Remember: When you purchase a Himalayan pink salt block, use and care instructions should always be included with the slab.
Always follow those provided guidelines first and foremost (before any of the following) to ensure you get the best results and longest life our of your HPS block.
Designate a ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’
Always cook food on the same side of the block.
This will prolong the life of the slab by deterring cracking and slowing the expansion of existing fissures in the salt.
Heat It Slowly
Himalayan pink salt should be heated at a rate of no more than 200 degrees of temperature increase per 15 minutes.
HPS a natural product with flaws and fault lines; if you heat your block too quickly, you may instead find yourself in possession of a whole lot of very expensive pink salt for your grinder!
Salt Block Safety
Himalayan salt blocks can get very hot and stay that way for a long time.
Protect your hands and your kitchen surfaces by investing in salt block holder upon which to carry your HPS block.
You may also want to get a pair of high-heat resistant gloves. A super-heated salt block can and will burn your fingers right through most regular cooking mitts.
You could also opt for a pair of leather welding gloves. While this may sound odd, they work extremely well not only with salt blocks, but also for safely handling heavy cast iron cookware.
Don’t Oil The Block
If you must use oil, brush it lightly on your food. Oil applied directly to the block will work its way into the cracks.
At best, the oil will go rancid and you will have to throw away your salt block. At worst, it will catch fire and make a pretty spectacle in your kitchen or grill area.
Don’t Wash It
Ok, so a little bit of washing will be necessary. However, this is the one area where you need to be most careful.
Use a salt board cleaning brush, scrub the surface lightly and pat the surface dry immediately.
Remember, salt and water are very good friends. Given the chance, the water will sweep the salt right out of your arms and away down the drain.
Also, no soap. Ever.
Use It (And Practice!)
Just like any other tool in your good-health arsenal, the more you use your HPS block, the better you’ll be at it.
Once you get the knack of it, you may find yourself becoming more creative in the kitchen in general.
After all, you are preparing food on a prehistoric rock. Cooking just doesn’t get any more incredible than that!
Video Demonstration: Caring For Your Himalayan Salt Plate
Note that once you heat the block, it will lose some of its beauty.
If you plan on using your salt block for cold items or as a serving plate, I recommend purchasing one specifically for that purpose, and a separate block for cooking.
Recommended Himalayan Salt Block
This Voltas salt block is made of 100% Pure Himalayan salt, and is absolutely stunning to look at.
It’s generously sized at 12 by 8 inches, and 1¾ thick.
It features beveled edges to reduce chipping, and comes with a stainless steel plate holder and a thick cotton tote for storage.
The Voltas Himalayan salt block has fantastic user reviews, too.
Recommended For Cleaning:
It features nylon bristles and a stainless steel blade for scraping. It’s also dishwasher safe on the top rack.
Video Demonstration: Grilling With a Salt Plate
Recommended Salt Block Cookbook
You’ll definitely want to read Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks for some serious salt block cooking sensations.
This book is also a terrific gift for someone who has recently acquired a Himalayan salt block.
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