Carved out of pure salt, Himalayan salt blocks are efficient cooking machines that add flavor to anything you cook or serve on them. And they have the added bonus of bringing color and an authentic look to the table.
However, there are some problems with cooking with a salt rock, and they do require a little bit of care to ensure they last.
How long does a Himalayan salt block last? If treated carefully and cared for properly, a Himalayan salt block can last you for many years. The salt block will need some special care in the kitchen, such as gentle cleaning, dry storage, and slow heating.
A Himalayan salt block will last as long as you treat it well, so if you want to make sure you get the most out of yours, you’ll want to learn how to care for and how to store a Himalayan salt block.
How To Clean A Himalayan Salt Block
Cleaning is a very delicate process when it comes to cleaning your Himalayan salt block. You cannot scrub it with soap or throw it in the dishwasher!
Once you have finished cooking, allow the salt block to cool down. Once cooled, wipe it down gently with a moist sponge – make sure it is not soaking wet.
You can scrub the surface of the block with a brush or scourer if you need to, but try not to scrub too hard to avoid scraping off clean salt and wasting it.
Pat the salt block dry once you have finished cleaning and allow it to sit and air-dry for as long as it needs.
You do not need to use soap to clean the salt block, as the antimicrobial properties keep it clean. You just need to make sure it is wiped down and not left wet for too long, as the salt will dissolve with exposure to water.
Here are some quick tips for cleaning your salt block:
- Fill your sink with hot water and very quickly rinse the salt block.
- Do not leave it to soak in water.
- Scrape off the residue using a scouring sponge, washcloth, or metal spatula.
- Rinse again in hot water quickly and let air-dry.
Be very careful not to drop the salt block while you are cleaning it – they are incredibly heavy and can cause some damage. Your block will likely take a beating as well.
How To Store A Himalayan Salt Block
It is so important to put some care into storing the Himalayan salt block as well. Once it is clean, you need to place it somewhere cool and dry.
You could wrap the Himalayan salt block in plastic wrap to prevent moisture pooling, which could damage the salt block quite a bit.
Keep it stored away in a cupboard where it does not get too hot or humid, or where there is excessive moisture.
The way you store the Himalayan salt block will make a huge difference in how long it lasts, so it really does pay off to put some extra effort in.
Things To Know About Himalayan Salt Blocks
There are a few other important things to note when using a Himalayan salt block that can not only extend the life of your salt but also contribute to the ease of the process as a whole.
1. Slow Heating
Himalayan salt blocks need to be heated slowly. While they are solid slabs, they do have some cracks and fissures, and if placed into a very hot oven, run the risk of exploding everywhere.
You need to space out the heating process, as the blocks cannot take a rapid rise in heat. Try not to increase the heat more than 100°F in 15 minutes.
Start your oven at a lower temperature and gradually raise it over time.
2. Avoid Greasy Food
Avoid excess oil and moisture when cooking on the salt block.
You can use some oil, but instead of drizzling it directly onto the salt block, use a brush to spread the oil over the food you are cooking.
This also means that you will use up less oil in the process and may end up with a meal that is a bit healthier.
Remember: water heats up faster than the salt block, and if the oil and water get into the cracks and fissures, it could cause some problems.
3. Don’t Mind The Cracks
Cracks and fissures in a salt block are normal, so don’t think yours is on the verge of exploding.
These cracks and fissures are natural, and will not cause the block to explode. The block is only at risk of exploding if water manages to get inside of the crack.
The cracks will also not have an effect on your cooking. You will probably also hear some cracking when you place the salt block in the oven.
Once again, this is normal. The salt block would have been tested before you bought it, so try not to stress too much.
4. It Won’t Over-Salt
Himalayan salt blocks are not very porous, and they retain very little moisture.
When cooking, this means that your food will not become very salty immediately. Many people enjoy cooking with a salt block because they say it gives their food a wonderfully distinctive flavor.
There are over 80 different trace minerals in a salt slab, so you can expect more flavor than just plain salt.
5. Avoid Touching After Cooking
The salt blocks do a wonderful job of retaining heat for quite a long time and do so even after cooking.
This means that you should avoid touching the block immediately after cooking, as you could end up with some severe burns.
They also keep heat within for a long while, so remove your food from the salt block as soon as it is done to avoid it overcooking.
6. It Won’t Always Be Pink
Himalayan salt blocks are gorgeous; their natural pink hues make them a great décor addition to any kitchen, but these colors do not last.
The more you cook with the Himalayan salt block, the faster it will lose its natural shimmer.
You will also notice an accumulation of black spots where you have been cooking, but these can be removed if you remember to wipe them away after cooking.
Why Cook With a Salt Rock?
If being able to cook on an incredibly old piece of salt block isn’t convincing enough, here are some of the benefits you can expect when cooking with Himalayan salt block:
- Heat Resistant – Salt blocks are very resistant to heat, which makes them great for both high and low-temperature cooking. They are able to distribute temperature more evenly, to cook food evenly.
- Flavors – There are over 80 trace minerals found in Himalayan salt blocks, and these will be infused with your food during cooking. The blocks also give food a complex flavor profile as well.
- No Oversalting – With a low-porosity, the blocks retain little moisture, so that your food is only given a delicate saltiness, rather than being overpowering.
- Heat Retention – Due to the crystalline structure of the salt block, it manages to retain heat for longer, which can work to keep food warm before it is served.
- Antimicrobial – Having low porosity and low moisture retention, salt blocks are naturally antimicrobial, and this antimicrobial surface discourages bacteria growth. This makes it a wonderful serving surface for the kitchen!
- Many Uses – Depending on the temperature of the salt block, you can use it for many things. The salt block can be used for cooking just about any food, chilling food when the block is chilled, curing meat or fish, or even just to present food on its beautiful surface.
So, though these salt blocks do take a bit of special care and attention, in our opinion, they are entirely worth it.
If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself, check out our buyer’s guide for the 5 best Himalayan salt blocks.
Hopefully, this guide has proven itself to be a valuable resource to Himalayan salt block owners and those who are interested in purchasing one.
If you’ve still got some unanswered questions, then we invite you to take look at the section below, where we’ve gathered some frequently asked questions from around the internet.
How Long Does a Himalayan Salt Block Stay Hot?
A Himalayan salt block can stay hot for up to 30 minutes.
This is why you should avoid making contact with the block for some time after cooking, as they retain heat well and might still burn you.
It might take up to several hours for the block to cool completely.
Where Do Himalayan Salt Blocks Come From?
Himalayan salt blocks come from the Khewra Salt Mine, which is found in the Salt Range of Pakistan. This is the second-largest mine of its size in the world.
You can actually tour this mine and observe it’s gorgeous “Crystal Palace,” a mosque built from salt block architecture, complete with the orange glow of salt rock lighting.
Are There Any Downsides to Using Himalayan Salt Blocks?
There are a few downsides, such as the effort it takes to heat up the block and then cook with it, but this would be up to personal preference.
One potential downside is that the salt block naturally increases the sodium level in your food, which is a nutrient most of us tend to overeat.
Sodium is necessary in small amounts, but excessive intake can be harmful to your health. This is something to consider when purchasing a salt block.
Up Next: The Absolute Best Salt For Cooking