Low-Salt Cooking Tips
Keep in mind that you can use a seasoning blend even when a recipe in this book mentions individual seasonings. Simply substitute the blend that has similar seasonings.
Additional essentials for your pantry should include dried lemon granules, 100% lemon juice (not the bottled kind made from concentrate, but like that found in the freezer case from Minute Maid), dried minced onion and garlic, good-quality onion and garlic powders, nonfat dry milk, and no-salt-added instant mashed potatoes. While they're not mandatory, stocking some freeze-dried ingredients like shallots and minced green onion (scallion) are great to have on hand, too, because of their almost instantaneous ability to reconstitute in a dish.
Likewise, while many cooking experts suggest replacing spices and herbs every six months to a year, that isn't because spices stored properly in a cool, dry place go stale. Rather, even when they're stored properly, the intensity of those spices and herbs do diminish over time. That decrease in flavor isn't the end of the world, however; in most cases, you can simply use more.
Specific information about products used is mentioned here, such as which type of “large, deep nonstick sauté pan” was used to test the recipes. That reference, listed often in the book, refers to a 3½-quart oven-safe skillet, which is large enough for most of the recipes in the book and can also be used on the stovetop and then moved to the oven to finish off a dish, when necessary.
You'll also notice that the suggestion is made to treat even nonstick cookware with nonstick cooking spray. That's because over time small scratches can form on the nonstick surface, which can cause food to stick. Another benefit is that when you first use a nonstick spray, it takes far less oil to sauté vegetables.
There's also another “lower-fat frying” and lower-sodium benefit possible when you first treat a nonstick pan with nonstick spray or spray oil. For those times when only some fried meat will satisfy your craving, you'll use far less oil if you rinse the meat in cold water and then dry it between paper towels, rub a little oil over the surface of the meat, and then use a salt-free seasoning blend on both sides of the meat. Bring the nonstick pan to temperature and then fry the meat as usual.
Such instructions normally suggest salting the surface of the meat before it's fried, because the salt helps draw the extra moisture to the surface of the meat so that it evaporates quickly. This causes the meat to sear, which is essential for that caramelized “fried” taste. But drying the meat between the paper towels eliminates the need to use salt to draw the moisture to the surface because you've already removed that moisture with towels!
The most important thing to keep in mind as you experiment with new seasoning sensations while you adapt to your new low-salt eating lifestyle is that you're making a commitment to better manage your health. Making, and sticking with, that commitment to eat a healthy diet literally can be your life or death decision.