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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sour Salt

Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Sour Salt, also known as citric acid is a natural ingredient found in all citrus fruits. You can buy it on some spice racks or online. It looks like small white crystals and has many uses in cooking, canning and flavoring and cleaning. Citric acid is a naturally occurring weak acid that is safe for human consumption and use.

Mixed with water into syrup, sour salt can be used during the preserving process or added directly to the can or jar; methods vary depending on what you are preserving. Citric acid is added to a variety of foods to help prevent various types of food poisoning including botulism. When added to fruits or vegetables with low acidic levels, citric acid will also minimize discoloration in order to avoid a brownish appearance. It's especially useful as a natural food preservative.

Citric acid is popular for sour flavoring or simply to balance the taste of sweet and sour. Some people use it when making traditional stuffed cabbage to get that sweet and sour taste or in cabbage soup.

Other uses for Sour Salt:
  • There are also many environmentally safe cleaning products and uses that citric acid is ideal for, including: carpet cleaners; glass cleaners; and soap scum remover.
  • Used in the chemical process in development of prints.
  • It can remove the stains in your pots and pans — boil water with citric acid added.
  • Sour salt works best in recipes that also include sugar but the objective is to create a pleasant balance between the sweet and sour, such as in cold beet borscht or a lemony cheesecake.
  • Sour salt is delicious when "salted" on popcorn. You will become addicted to this new way of eating popcorn.
  • I also use sour salt in my ice tea, in salad dressings, with sugar on fruit and in so many other applications in the kitchen. I never have lemons when I need them, so I substitute sour salt.
  • I also use it to acidulate water to prevent oxidation & discoloration on artichokes during preparation.

  • It also can be used it to clean the coffee maker, electric kettle, shower heads and anywhere else where hard water deposits collect. Use one ounce of citric acid powder per quart of water — it's like magic!

Borscht from Mimi Sheraton

Ingredients 3 large or 4 medium fresh beets juice of 1 1/2 lemons, approximately salt pinch of sour salt 5 cups water 2 extra-large whole eggs pinch of sugar, if needed white pepper to taste garnishes: sour cream and (optional) boiled potatoes Procedure Wash and peel the beets and cut into fine dice or grate on the coarse side of a grater. Place in a saucepan with the juice of 1/2 lemon, a pinch each of salt and sour salt, and the 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Add the juice of another 1/2 lemon. Remove from the heat. Beat the eggs with a fork until they are thin and watery. Slowly ladle some of the hot borscht into the eggs, beating constantly. When about half the soup has been added, pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup; again pour slowly and beat constantly. When all the egg mixture is beaten into the soup, pour the soup back and forth between the pot and a bowl or pitcher about 10 or 15 times until the mixture is smooth, airy, and creamy. Halfway through, add more lemon juice to produce a whiny effect; add a tiny pinch of sugar, if necessary, and salt and white pepper as needed. Continue pouring to blend. Chill thoroughly. It is best to add sour cream shortly before serving so that the borscht will keep longer. The sour cream can simply be served on the side, to be spooned in at the table. Or you can add sour cream (about 1 heaping tablespoonful per cupful of borscht) to the soup in a jar. Close tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Fluffy, dry, hot boiled potato is wonderful in the middle of this ice-cold soup.