Heap of Coarse Salt (close-up shot) on vintage background (selective focus)

By: Ghania Abrar

Salt is probably the most important ingredient in your kitchen. When used properly, it makes food taste, well, more—more like itself, more like it was meant to be, more like something outrageously delicious that you actually want to eat. And, contrary to what your parents might say, it belongs in and on just about everything you cook, from salads and sandwiches to ice cream and margaritas.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, made from fermented soybeans, is packed with salt and deep, dark umami flavor.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is made from salted and fermented fish, and brings a bright, almost ocean-like salinity, along with lots of fishy, caramel-y flavors to the table.

Miso

Miso is a fermented mixture of soy beans that can be diluted and spread onto meats, mixed into marinades and sauces, or swirled into dressings and dips.

Fermented Vegetables (and Their Brines)

Most fermented vegetables—think dill pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi—are packed in a mixture of salt, water, and spices while they undergo their transformation, meaning both the veggies and the liquid they’re hanging out in are preeeeeetty salty