by Tina Barnash
There are many uses for Himalayan Culinary Salt tiles. Listed below are some guidelines for the care and use of your Salt Tile. If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to enjoy your salt tile for quite a long time by ensuring it’s longest possible usefulness as a tile. Keep in mind, once your tile has worn down or broken you can always use a salt shaver to sprinkle the salt onto your food or break the chunks up and grind them with a salt grinder! For the longest possible use, I recommend the 2″ Salt Tiles, being thicker, they take longer to wear down and are more resistant to cracking or breaking when heated.
There are two things to ALWAYS bear in mind when using your new salt tiles:
- They are HEAVY. Make sure you hold it firmly, so that it doesn’t drop.
- When cooking with the tile, it will get extremely HOT and retain the heat for a long time.-longer than you might expect. Be sure the tile is cool before touching it, or use an oven mitt just as you would with any hot cookware.
- Himalayan Salt Blocks are a natural product, and as such, each block may have varying thresholds for heat and pressure. If you wish to cook with your salt block, please understand that they can crack and even explode, just as a glass baking dish can (with the exception of Pyrex Glass, most of the time).
The most popular use of the Salt Tile is to heat it on the grill, and then enjoy cooking all our favorite barbecue items to perfection on it! This includes meats, fish, vegetables- you name it, they all come out tasting fantastic when cooked on a genuine Himalayan Salt tile.
The tiles also make excellent cutting boards, as salt is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial! Do NOT, however, cut raw meat on your block without properly cleaning it afterwards. You can use the tile for cooking on a stove as well, just be sure to follow the precautions listed below. If you want to use your block in an oven, I recommend a much longer, slower break in period of up to one hour for the first use, with slightly increasing oven temperatures to avoid cracking the tile.
Cooking with Himalayan Culinary Salt Tiles
Himalayan Pink Salt Tiles can be heated, cooled, or left at room temperature. Cold and room temperature uses require no special instruction; simply place food on the salt block and serve, or use the block as a cutting board in the kitchen.
Heating Himalayan Salt Blocks requires following some basic steps. (Please see the important disclaimer at the end of this guide.) Allow between 15 to 30 minutes to achieve the desired cooking temperature. This is why they are ideal for grilling; they can be heating up as your coals are getting ready to cook on. Also, note that heating will change the appearance of your Himalayan Salt Block. Your salt plate will crackle slightly on heating as micro-fissures appear, clouding the clear finish of the salt block. This is normal, but you may wish to keep one piece for heating and reserve another for room temperature uses if you would like the clearer look for presentation.
Here are some directions for heating your Salt Tile:
- Be sure the salt block is completely dry. If it is wet, allow it to dry at least 24 hours in a warm, dry place before heating.
- For gas ranges, place your Himalayan Salt Block on the burner over low flame. After 15 minutes (allow more time for plates larger than 8″ x 8″ x 2″), increase heat to low-medium. At this point, your salt plate will be hot enough to cook on, but you will want to keep the flame on low-medium while cooking. If extremely hot temperatures are desired, increase flame to medium-high for another 15 minutes.
- For electric ranges, place a metal spacer such as wok ring or pastry tin with a removable bottom on the stove so that the Himalayan Salt Block is at least 1/2 inch above the heating element. It is important that the salt not touch the heating element, as direct contact could damage your range, your salt, or both. With the salt block in place, follow instructions above, allowing as much a 5 minutes more for each step.
- If you are using your salt block on a barbecue grill (my personal favorite), it is going to be a bit more difficult to regulate the heat. That is why we recommend curing the plate before your first use, by heating it slowly, and then allowing it to slowly cool back to room temperature.
Important:The prolonged contact with moisture that occurs with any longer-cooking recipes dissolves more of the salt tile’s surface, causing irregularities or pitting. While this may reduce the usable lifetime of a Himalayan Salt Tile, many uses should still be possible. That is why I recommend the 2” thick plate for any cooking application. If you are using your salt tile for cooking on a stove, be sure to closely monitor it while cooking, and do not place food or any other item on the tile that can potentially run off the tile and into your stove! Never leave your salt block unattended while cooking.
Caring for your Pink Himalayan Salt Tile
After each use, rinse your salt tile with warm water, scrub with a soft brush or green scouring pad to remove any stuck matter, and rinse again. Tamp dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Set on a drying rack. This will process removes a very thin layer of the salt.
Treated with care, a large salt tile can be used dozens of times. The powerful antimicrobial properties of the salt insure that it is always proper and ready for future use, with no need for detergents.
If your salt tile becomes pitted from use with moist foods or longer cook time recipes, you can literally ”sand” the surface of the tile with sand paper, then thoroughly rinse the tile off with water, dry with a towel and allow 24 hours to fully dry. This will remove a bit of the salt from the surface, another reason why I recommend the 2″ thick tiles.
For Free Himalayan Salt Recipes + more great tips & techniques for using your salt tile, visit the Himalayan Salt Boutiques’ Salt Recipes Blog!