The Himalayas are one of the most inhospitable places on earth. Even though it’s not very hot there, its cold and dry climate makes life difficult. There are no trees, only snow capped mountains making up the landscape. The mountains make up nearly half of the landmass, but they’re all covered with ice which means that the temperature never gets above freezing even during summer months. To survive, the inhabitants have developed many different ways of living. One way of life is to live off the land. They grow their own food and subsist on what they hunt down from the mountain tops. The other way of life is to rely heavily on hunting and gathering, but with less reliance on animals like deer and wild boar since these creatures aren’t found in such high altitudes anymore.
Himalayan salt blocks are used to cook foods made from plants grown at higher elevations. These include fruits, nuts, roots, tubers and grains.
A salt block is a type of rock that contains crystals of minerals that hold water in them. When heated, the moisture evaporates leaving behind a salty liquid. It’s used mainly for preserving food because it keeps it fresh longer than just boiling it or letting it sit out until spoiled. Usually, these blocks are used in plow fields where the soil is too dry to plant crops in or bring them to a region that has a shortage of food.
A salt block can be made by hand by collecting big blocks of salt from dried up seashores and slowly letting it melt in the sun until it becomes a single solid block. The raw material for these stones can be found nearly anywhere on earth.
Some are naturally blue or pink but most of them are a creamy white color. It can also be made by boiling down seawater in large cauldrons until it reaches the right concentration to make a solid block.
There are many different ways to use a salt block to preserve food, but they all fall into two different categories. The first way is to slice the food (usually meat or fish) into thin strips and dry it out on top of the block which absorbs the moisture from it and gives it a “cured” effect.
The other way is to bury the block in a pit that’s filled with wood and light it on fire. The food is put on sticks and placed on top of the flames so that cooks evenly.
Black Salt Blocks
Black Salt blocks are found in the same area as Salt Blocks, but due to their color they’re not used nearly as much. However, they’re known for their ability to enhance the flavor of any food that’s cooked on them.
They’re often used in the same way that regular salt blocks are used and the two can be used together when cooking. Some people will even crush the block into a rough powder first in order to improve the taste of whatever they’re cooking.
They can be made by hand or by placing the regular salt block into a container filled with coal for a few days. The coal soaks up the moisture from the block and when the two are separated a black block with coal dust on one side and salt on the other is produced.
These blocks don’t last nearly as long as most others and their taste is slightly more bitter, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you want to add a little extra flavor to your food.
The last block on this list is a fairly rare one since it can only be found in the frozen wastelands just north of the city. It’s called a snow block and despite its name it has nothing to do with snow.
The rarity of this block comes from the fact that it melts very quickly and it takes a lot of effort to make one.
This block can be used in much the same way as a salt block and they can even be used at the same time since their taste is different than regular salt. This block is great for cooking because it adds a nice flavor to whatever you’re cooking without overpowering it like salt does.
It’s not just good for regular food either; it’s perfect for desserts! There’s hardly any reason not to have one around the house with how many ways it can be used.
The only problem is that in order to get one you need to travel far north where the only visitors are adventurers and the occasional merchant. The Merchant’s Guild tries to keep a good amount of stock on hand since they know they’re always in demand, but given how rare they are to begin with it’s hard to maintain a supply for every demand so they often tend to run out.
Sources & references used in this article:
Salt block cooking: 70 Recipes for grilling, chilling, searing, and serving on Himalayan salt blocks by M Bitterman, A Schloss – 2013 – books.google.com
The benefits of Himalayan Salt by P Fassa – biosil.wordpress.com
… potential and type II diabetes related enzyme inhibition properties of traditionally processed legume-based food and medicinal recipes in Indian Himalayas by D Talukdar – Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2013 – japsonline.com
How to Cook Everything–Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Simple Recipes for Great Food by M Bitterman – 2010 – Random House Digital, Inc.