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When to add salt to cooking water?

When to add salt to cooking water?

Is it better to salt cooking water, for vegetables for example, at the beginning when it is cold or when it boils?

I always heard that one should salt "after", when water is boiling, because if it is salted "before" it will take longer to boil.

True or false? Let's try the experiment...

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Last modified on: July 25th 2017

Step by step recipe

1 When to add salt to cooking water? : Photo of step #11 litre of water is put in a pan and 1 tbs coarse salt is added. 2 min.
2 When to add salt to cooking water? : Photo of step #2The water temperature is measured in the same way, every minute, until it boils. 10 min.
3 When to add salt to cooking water? : Photo of step #3Let's compare times and temperatures in this diagram: the unsalted water in green, the salted water in red.

Conclusion

At the start of heating, the temperature of the salted water rises more slowly: after 3 minutes 30 seconds the unsalted water is already at 040°C (100°F), while salted water is still at 025°C (80°F).
But then the two catch up and they take the same time to reach 100°C (210°F).
Another point: it seems, but I'm not really adamant about it, that salted water starts to boil at a lower temperature than unsalted, i.e. around 90°C (190°F) rather than 100°C (210°F).
And to drink?: We already know the time it takes to boil 1 litre water, measured in another experiment.

We are going to use the same pan, heat source and water volume, but add salt and bring to the boil while measuring and comparing temperatures.
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