This is a commonly asked cooking question however not many know the answer to it. In this short brief, we explain various reasons why some people do this so be sure to read to the end. Who knows, you might start adding some yourself.
If a number of people are engaging in common practice it is most likely because they’ve found it effective and useful. A good example of one such practice is adding salt to boiling water. Below is a list of reasons why people add salt to boiling water.
Usually, people only add salt to water when they plan to boil it to cook rice or pasta. Adding salt to water adds flavour to the water and this is absorbed by the food. This happens because salt enhances the ability of chemoreceptors in the tongue to identify molecules that are perceived through the sense of taste.
Impurities increase the boiling point of water and this is another reason salt is added to water. This means that the water will already have a higher temperature by the time you add the pasta, so it cooks better. This works hypothetically. However, in reality, you will need about 230 grams of table salt to raise the boiling point of a litre of water by 2° C. That is 58 grams per half degree Celsius for each litre or kilogram of water. That is too much salt for a human to consume.
It is true that adding salt to water raises its boiling point, however, salted water actually boils faster. Why is this? Because adding salt reduces the heat capacity of the water. Heat capacity is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of water by 1°C. Pure water has a very high heat capacity and this takes longer to boil.
Doing this may help shield your metal pots from corrosion because the sodium and chloride ions in salt water will have even lesser time to react with the metal. This effect is negligible when compared to the amount of damage you do to your pots when you leave them dirty for hours or days.