Who knew that salt could be used for so much more than adding a little extra boost to our margaritas? Salt has become the secret ingredient to spicing up many things in the kitchen. If you want to smooth out the flavor of your coffee, add salt. One of the tricks to making the creamiest mac and cheese ever? Add salt. So, it probably comes as no surprise that the secret to enhancing your watermelon-eating experience comes by, you guessed it, adding salt. If you've ever had a craving for a sweet, juicy watermelon slice, only to bite into bitterness, you'll be happy to know a quick pinch of salt can change that.
As if there weren't already enough weird food combinations in the world, we're about to add another one to the list with salt on watermelon. When it comes to making watermelon taste sweeter, you need to take sugar out of the equation and instead reach for the salt. Why? Well, salt is commonly known to diminish bitterness. Before you dismiss what seems like a failed flavor combination, hear us out. Food developer Barb Stuckey has a pretty good theory on why this works. "Watermelon has three taste elements," she explained to HuffPost, "sweet, sour and bitter; it's all in the flesh of the melon." But the bitterness can actually act to suppress the sweetness of the watermelon, she continues, which is why once you sprinkle salt on a bright pink slice, it acts to "[release the sweetness] from the suppression of the bitterness."
Though salt is supposed to make our watermelon taste better, it may not suit everyone's tastes. One Reddit post drew comments from both sides of the fence debating the deliciousness of the combo. When asked if they put salt on their watermelon, one user replied, "Nope. But I know people that do. It's a shame to ruin a good piece of fruit…" Another disagreed, saying, "Yes, always. I season that watermelon and let it sit for a few minutes so it will dissolve and really get in there. So delicious!" If you haven't tried it yet, grab your favorite salt, whether it's table salt, kosher, or Himalayan, give it a try, and see which side of the fence you land on.
Balancing out bitterness isn't the only way salt makes watermelon taste better. Salt is also known to stir up the salivary glands, making anything your tongue touches taste a bit juicier (via Southern Living), which can be a life saver in the summer heat. As the humidity hits us, our bodies sweat, continuously dropping our sodium levels. Have you ever noticed that the more you sweat, the more your body craves salt? That's Mother Nature waving the red flag, reminding you to get your electrolytes in check. Biting into that lightly salted, juicy watermelon helps replenish your body with nutrients, restoring those electrolytes and keeping your body hydrated with every bite.
Watermelon is not the only fruit that salt works wonders on, either. Apples are a prime example. Salt will not only enhance their flavor, but it will also keep them from turning brown. Grapefruit is another fruit to try this trick on. We all know the bitter taste of a grapefruit, but there is sweetness hiding in there, too, and the salt can bring it out. This citrus fruit is also known to help prevent wrinkles, so it seems like a win-win.
Still don't think you can stomach plain old salt on your fruit? Try getting creative. Rachael Ray does so by adding a little salty meat to her watermelon. Prosciutto pairs well because it's a meat that is high in sodium and will provide the same effect as a sprinkling of salt would. Just don't make it a regular habit because even though prosciutto does provide some key nutrients, LiveStrong says one ounce carries up to 29 percent of your daily sodium allowance. Better to consider it a delicacy.
There you have it. Another way salt makes food taste better. Before you dive in on this method, though, remember that salt isn't meant for every fruit since its main role is to play down bitterness. You'll want to stay away from sprinkling it on sweeter fruits like cherries and bananas, which wouldn't benefit from the added seasoning.