Beyond nutrition, salt is used for several necessary function's in food processing and cooking.Salt is used to preserve foods by creating a hostile environment for certain microorganisms. Within foods, salt brine dehydrates bacterial cells and inhibits bacterial growth and subsequent spoilage. Salting fish made long-range exploration's possible in the age of sailing ships.Salt aids in strengthening gluten in bread dough, providing uniform grain, texture and dough strength. Salt improves the tenderness in cured meats such as ham by promoting the binding of water by protein. It also gives a smooth, firm texture to processed meats.
In processed and formed meats salt extracts the proteins. In sausage making, stable emulsion's are formed when the salt-soluble protein solution's coat the finely-formed globules of fat, providing a binding gel consisting of meat, fat and moisture.Salt controls fermentation in baked products, by retarding and controlling the rate of fermentation, important in making a uniform product.Color development in promoted by salt in ham, bacon, hotdogs and sauerkraut. Used with sugar and nitrate or nitrite, salt produces a color in processed meats which consumers find appealing.
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