Posts tagged ‘salt’

Fertilizer Can Melt Snow and Ice

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you need to boil water while cooking, the recipe may suggest that you add salt to the water. This salt is not for taste, it’s for efficiency. The salt lowers the heat capacity of water, making it boil with less energy (heat) from your stove. It also raises the boiling point of the water slightly, although not significantly. In other words, it helps you get the water hotter and in less time than if you didn’t add salt.

Salt also has an affect on the freezing point of water — it lowers it. This is important to understand during winter, especially if you have a driveway or sidewalk to keep clear. Because salt lowers the heat capacity of water (or snow/ice), it’s takes less energy (heat) to melt. This only happens down to about 15°F (-9°C). Below that, salt is not very effective because it cannot dissolve at those temperatures.

Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the usually the cheapest of all the ice melting products. There are a variety of alternatives that are effective at lower temperatures.

You should be careful when choosing an ice melter. Most ice melting products, including salt, are corrosive and can damage concrete, especially if it’s very new concrete. They can also be harmful to vegetation and grass. (more…)

February 25, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Table Salt Used to Indicate a Person’s Social Status

By Kaye Nemec

While table salt is an important flavoring ingredient in modern day cooking, it had a much more significant reputation in earlier centuries.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that manufacturers began processing table salt to be used in salt shakers. Before then, salt was served in very elaborate containers that often resembled chairs or thrones.

These “salt chairs” were commonly placed at the head of the table closest to where the most important guest.  Salt was considered an extremely important substance that was to be treated with great admiration.  Important people sat “above the salt.”

In Russia it was common to have a welcoming ceremony when guests came over that included serving a piece of bread with salt. The salt was served out of the salt chair or throne. Because of the popularity of this ceremony, salt chairs became popular wedding and house warming gifts. Bigger salt chairs signified a wealthier or more prominent place in society.

Typically salt chairs were about 5 inches tall. The salt was stored in what would be the seat of the chair and a lid was placed over the salt. Because the salt could corrode silver, the seat and lid of the chair were usually gold plated. Today, antique “salt chairs” can be found selling at auctions for $500 and up.

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Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver

Photo: Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver

September 29, 2010 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

The Fastest Way to Chill Drinks

Perhaps your guests just arrived and you forgot to put beer in the fridge. Or, maybe you just got a phone call and your hair appointment on Thursday has been canceled  Either way, you need cold drinks, stat. This secret will chill your drinks in 5 minutes flat.

  1. Half fill a container with your drinks.
  2. Fill the remaining space with ice.
  3. Add salt and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. In 4.5 minutes you’ve got cold drinks.

The salt speeds the melting of the ice. The melting ice absorbs heat from the drinks which in turn makes the drinks get colder.

Here’s a little demo from down under with a fancy thermometer:

December 9, 2009 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

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