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Salted Water..cuando?

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This is a little something that has been bugging me for a while. I always heavily salt my water when cooking pasta or blanching. There can be no doubt it makes a huge difference. However does it matter when you add the salt? I have seen in many recipes that you should bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt AFTER it has come to a boil. What possible difference can that make? As a busy person (and apt to forget) I'd rather just throw the salt in while filling the pot. One more step done sooner. Does anyone know why this would make any difference?

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  1. I think it makes no difference as long as the salt gets into the water and has a chance to dissolve before you add the pasta. Heck, I've even added right after the pasta because I forgot to add it sooner. Not optimal, but it really didn't affect the outcome.

    There are CHers who frequent the Cookware board who will lecture you about how adding salt at the wrong time, whatever that is, may cause pitting of your stainless steel, or Lord help you, aluminum pots, but I haven't observed this in 40 years of cooking. If it was ever going to happen, it probably occurs when you leave salty water in the pots for days.

    1. I had heard that plain water comes to a boil faster than salted water. Therefore, many people add salt to the water when it reaches a boil

      3 Replies
      1. re: critter101

        Yes, that's what I've always understood too.

        1. re: critter101

          you two are correct. the salt makes the water take longer to boil (raises the boiling point), ceteris paribus. here is the physical description: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci...

          mario always tosses the salt just after the pasta into the already boiling water.

          ~~~~~~~~~
          but.... since the salted water is hotter when it comes to a boil, won't the pasta cook more quickly?

          1. re: alkapal

            If the pasta directions say the product cooks in 10 to 12 minutes, I check it at 9 to 10 minutes, since al dente is always my choice. Plus, adding the pasta to the boiling water generally lowers the temp and stops the boiling for a short time.