Spice Road Spices
Artisan Spice Merchants

The Art of Flavour


The Magic of Lemon replacing Salt.

Arthur Huxley - 14-06-2022

It's hard to imagine a lemon, always an essential in the Art of Flavour, being a serious replacement for salt in our diet.

First, consider the magic. Both lemons and salt work in a similar manner on your tongue with the simple salty and sour taste receptors depending solely on the tongues ions – that is, sodium for salt and hydrogen for acidity. In this case, citrus.

The magic continues. Both saltiness and acidity lead to an increase in salivation making food more mouthwatering. Most desirable.

And given that tasting depends on saliva’s power as a solvent, the presence of saliva on your tongue is necessary for your taste and therefore your brain to recognise flavour.

So, drawing from the above, we can conclude that a dash of lemon juice or lemon zest will go a long way to replace or reduce the need for salt and at the same time, freshening and highlighting the flavours of food. Equally desireable.

Even more. Having established the place for lemon in our recipes it is worth noting that lemon has the amazing capacity to change - if needed - the texture of food.

For texture look at lemons ability to tenderize meat and the ultimate in lemon cooking: Ceviche. It works by the citric acid in the lemon breaking down the protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Much like olive oil in our previous Art of Flavour article, lemons tend to be overlooked in favour of trendy herbs and spices which is a pity.

Lemons are often the magic secret flavour in great dishes and the perfect salt replacement.

Kitchen Watchpoint When adding your lemon juice or lemon zest it is important to note that the lemon should always be added at the finish of the food preparation - never at the beginning as with other spices. Added early in the preparation, the lemon will taste bitter.