How much salt?!

I sometimes wonder why a meal I make from scratch doesn’t always taste as good as one made with the aid of a packet mix.

Is it the “freshness” of the dried ingredients? I must admit that the herbs in my larder aren’t always as recently purchased as I’d like.

Maybe it’s that I don’t get the ratios right? Looking at a packet of Discovery Chilli Con Carne seasoning mix, I had a shock as the first – and therefore largest – constituent was salt. And an unknown amount at that as the percentage breakdown information on the packet is patchy:

Cumin 22%
Chili Powder 14%
Maize Flour  
Oregano 8%
Garlic Powder  
Jalapeno pepper 1%
Paprika 1%
Black pepper  

I tend not to add salt to anything except the water used for cooking vegetables and pasta so it makes sense that packet mixes tend to taste better – salt is a common flavour enhancer so I should make more use of it than I do. Not sure I would add as much as Discovery have, though.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the Nutrition Information to see if that would help me work out the actual amount of salt in the packet:

Sodium expressed as salt 18.5g per 100g

But that’s less than the 22% in the table above. {{insert confused emoticon}}. I suppose the difference must be made up of potassium chloride and Discovery are using something like LoSalt instead of pure sodium chloride salt.

One last anomaly – the instructions on the packet for making chilli con carne say “4 portions” but the nutrition information says “1/8 of a pack contains…” What’s the point of providing data that represents half a meal?

Footnote – I wish Chile and Chilli had the same number of “L”s as it would make spelling them a lot easier. 

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