Rock Salt: Don’t Stop At Ice Cream

Using Rock Salt To Make Ice Cream

Although hundreds of millions of tonnes of rock salt are used and made annually, most home consumers are more familiar with the culinary applications of rock salt, and may consider purchasing this product in bulk, since several hundred pounds of salt may be purchased for the price of a few trips to the grocery store. Salt lasts for years when stored appropriately, and therefore this natural resource is one of the many commodities which is wise to purchase in bulk.

Rock salt may be a popular international commodity, but it’s use at home is often limited to deicing the driveway and making frozen desserts by hand. Children are often curious about the use of this common “ingredient” to make ice cream, but the trick is not a culinary secret. Actually, the use of salt to make frozen treats is based on a simple chemical property: when salt is mixed with water, water freezes at a lower temperature. This means that a heat-conducting surface (like a metal can) may be cooled to below freezing simply be adding salt into an ice or water bath.

Lowering the temperature of a heat-conducting surface is not important to keep the food frozen, but rather to freeze a liquid in a uniform way, producing the creamy texture of ice cream with an even freeze throughout.

How Much Rock Salt Is Needed

It actually takes quite a bit of salt to freeze ice cream. Salt and ice must constantly be added to the ice bath, in order to keep the temperature low and transport heat away from the ice-cream itself. As the ice melts, the temperature remains cool, but additional ice speeds the freezing of the ice cream. Several containers of rock salt may be necessary, depending on how much ice cream is being made. After all, one batch of homemade ice cream is never enough.

What To Do With Extra Salt

The good news is that the water can be reused. In fact, salty water can stretch the life of a cleaning detergent, or even be used in a salt bath. After all, a variety of bath products include salt in order to facilitate the breakdown of the chemicals within bath water. Extra salt water may be used to clean floors (as a pre-detergent rinse), deice a driveway, or prepare a piece of property for construction, as it tends to eliminate the growth of plants.

Clearly, there are plenty of uses for this natural resource, even after it’s been used to make frozen, dairy desserts.