Today my teacher asked an interesting question that "what is the role of salt ($NaCl$) in cooking the vegetables"? As the class was in funny mode, students gave answer like "it makes vegetables tasty" (which also seems reasonable). When I came home I realised the importance of question, so I am here.

I suppose that addition of salt is related to boiling point of water (If I'm thinking right). But still so confused that I don't know a generalised answer.

I shall be thankful if someone of you can tell me the role of salt in cooking vegetables (Please give as much as information you can).

  • $\begingroup$ Related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/19411/… $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2016 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ If you add enough salt to change the boiling point by a few Celsius, you will not want to eat the resulting food. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 19, 2016 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ In addition to salt having a minimal effect on the boiling point, lowering the boiling point makes it harder to cook things. Water boils at $60^oC$ at high altitude and doesn't have enough heat to cook food. $\endgroup$ Dec 13, 2016 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


I think that the main effect of salt in cooking vegetables is to act osmotically to draw water out of the plant cells, reducing the volume of the veggies and hence the time required to cook the vegetables. Perhaps this also changes the flavor and texture in beneficial ways as well. Example: If you soak/cook dry beans in fresh water, they tend to burst open, but remain whole in salted water.

  • $\begingroup$ It also take care of the color of the vegetables. Try it you'll see :) $\endgroup$
    – ParaH2
    Oct 19, 2016 at 23:07

I'd be inclined to apply Occam's Razor and just say it adds flavour.

The only chemistry I can conceive of in this is the increase in ionic strength affecting the cooking process somehow, perhaps aiding the breakdown of cellulose.


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