Don't Believe This Myth About Potatoes And Salt

Let's be honest, potatoes are great for so many reasons. First of all, they're super versatile. Fried? Baked? Mashed? Scalloped? Check, check, check, and check — and those are only some of the ways you can prepare them. Plus, it definitely helps that they're delicious. But there's something we need to talk about: potatoes and salt. If you've ever oversalted something, whether it was egg salad, tofu, or something else, you might have heard the myth that potatoes will soak up all that excess salt.

Truthfully, you should be taking that advice with a grain of salt (pun intended), because potatoes don't actually pull salt out of anything by themselves (via The Spruce Eats). Yes, you read that right. Scratch everything you've ever known about potatoes and salt, because they're not usually a solution for an oversalted dish. They really only slightly help absorb salt in one specific circumstance, but more on that later. Confused? Let us explain.

The only time potatoes can slightly help soak up salt

Let's say you just made soup and you add a pinch of salt — until it's not a pinch anymore. Turns out, the lid on your salt shaker wasn't screwed on tightly enough. Fortunately, you realized it before the entire shaker spilled into the soup, so it's still salvageable. Since soup is mostly liquid, potatoes can help absorb some of the salt. The key here is the fact that potatoes can soak up liquids, and if that liquid happens to have salt in it, potatoes can absorb some of the accompanying salt. The Spruce Eats adds that in the case of soups or sauces, the potatoes aren't "absorbing salt in particular. Potatoes are amazing, but they're not capable of reverse osmosis. It's more like using a sponge to soak up a spill."

The Kitchn tested out this theory for themselves and found the results were pretty subtle, but there was still a slight difference in taste. Instead of using potatoes to desalinate your soups, The Kitchn suggests "adding extra ingredients, like rice, pasta, vegetables, water, or more low-sodium broth [as] tasty additions that can help absorb the extra salt." As far as desalinating other, non-liquid dishes, potatoes won't be of much help — but all hope isn't lost. Epicurious says diluting your dish with water (if possible), adding an acid (e.g. lemon juice or vinegar), or adding a creamy component are a few ways you can fix oversalted foods.