Cut Back on Salt, Not Flavor

Home cooks limiting salt for health reasons can find it hard to adjust to dishes that suddenly taste flat. That's because salt enhances the flavor of food, making it taste "more vividly itself," user John Francis noted in a recent Chowhound discussion. If you dramatically reduce the amount of salt in your cooking, it will take your palate a few weeks to adjust, lizmom says.

How you use salt makes a difference in how much it takes for food to taste "right," cowboyardee points out. For example, if you mix salt into ground beef to make burgers you'll need a lot more to achieve the same sensation of saltiness than if you sprinkle it on patties after you form them. A slight sprinkling of coarse kosher salt right before serving "fools the tastebuds," since the large grains hit your mouth first, tardigrade says.

If food continues to seem bland several weeks after cutting down on salt, look to acidic ingredients like citrus juices and vinegars to brighten flavors. Using high-quality ingredients that taste great on their own makes a big difference, too, tastesgoodwhatisit says.

Discuss: Cutting back or eliminating salt?

Photo of salt shaker from Shutterstock