Salt has been one of the most important food preservatives throughout most of human history.When a food comes in direct contact with salt, a two-way process takes place in an effort to make the salt concentrations inside and outside the food more nearly equal. Moisture from inside the cell walls of the food is drawn out and dilutes the salt used for the cure. At the same time, dissolved salt is absorbed into the cells to increase the salt concentration there.The result is foods that have less moisture and are saltier. Both the moisture reduction and the increased salt content make the food less hospitable to bacteria that cause spoilage and disease.

Of course, the reduced moisture and the increased salt content also change the flavor and texture of the food.

Clockwise from top: table salt, curing salt, kosher salt

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