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I bought some Halloumi cheese the other day, and noticed that its sodium content is a WHOOPING 1.3 grams per 100 grams! I'm really scared to serve this now. Surely your blood pressure would skyrocket through the roof after consuming it?

I've read somewhere that soaking Halloumi overnight in water and lemon juice can draw out the salt in it, but is this true? And more importantly, to what degree? Does it only make it SLIGHTLY less salty? Have you experimented with it? Would chopping up the Halloumi and then soaking it overnight help draw out even more salt?

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    halloumi is a salty cheese. If you can't eat a lot of salt, I would say you can't eat it. Don't try to make it less salty. Some people can consume salt without blood pressure issues, and some will "spend" their salt allowance on a little halloumi because they really like it. – Kate Gregory Aug 1 '17 at 0:14
  • Well, I really don't want it to go to waste, but I don't want my friends' arteries to explode either. – 1234567 Aug 1 '17 at 0:19
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    Your blood pressure is not going to skyrocket and your friends arteries are not going to explode from eating one portion of haloumi. – Jan Doggen Aug 1 '17 at 7:27
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    1.3 g per 100 g is on the low end of the spectrum for cheese. Only emmentaler and some fresh cheeses reach less. Most are in the 2 to 5 g range. – rumtscho Aug 1 '17 at 8:43
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Oh no! I hope you don't also come close to exceeding the recommended maximum daily allowance of alcohol at dinner, too! ;-)

Seriously though, please don't do this. Aside from the fact that I'm skeptical that soaking halloumi for any reasonable amount of time will reduce the salt content significantly, that salt is one of the primary things that makes halloumi taste good. When you've got an ingredient with a lot of dairy protein and/or fat, it prevents your tongue from perceiving salt. If you remove the salt, it will taste flat and bland.

As a healthy person who appreciates well-seasoned food— including the occasional meal that might not be consumed solely with my health in mind— I am incredibly disappointed when I have to eat a meal with someone who's completely paranoid about salt, fat, or any of the other things that combine with good technique to transform boring ingredients into delicious meals that are worth savoring. Unless your guests have informed you of a specific medical dietary restriction, or you have one yourself, forcing your dinner guests to comply with your prejudice against salty things doesn't get you a lot of style points as a host.

A single serving of halloumi is 50 grams. It includes a sight less than half the recommended maximum daily sodium level by US standards. A sandwich with two thin slices of ham, one slice of American cheese, two tsp of mustard, and two slices of white bread has double that... and lots of people eat that for lunch and then go home for a regular dinner. While doing that every day isn't necessarily healthy, it's well within the realm of acceptable for an occasion.

Since you mentioned that you're serving this to your friends, I imagine that this isn't your every-night dinner, it's probably a dinner party. It's supposed to be a little bit of indulgence with which you can strengthen friendships and make memories. If the salt freaks you out, push the envelope a little with your cardio the next day to thank your circulatory system for the modicum of extra effort it put in. While you're hosting dinner guests, however, just let the special occasion be special.

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    First, thanks for the taking the time to pitch in and share your thoughts. I don't want to be rude, but your answer which tells me to not worry it about it isn't what I was looking for, as I do indeed have to worry about it for certain reasons. You mistook me for someone who obsesses over health pedantically. – 1234567 Aug 1 '17 at 5:06
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    @1234567 I hope I didn't offend you. In your question's comments, you said that you didn't want to blow up your friend's arteries, but didn't mention anything about your own health; to me, that indicates that you're either entertaining a cohort of salt-sensitive guests (which I addressed,) or were generally concerned about the salt level in the cheese you were serving for a dinner party (which I also addressed.) – ChefAndy Aug 1 '17 at 5:12
  • You didn't! Oh, I was just joking about the exploding arteries (I mean, arteries don't explode, lol), don't take it seriously. But yes, there are genuine concerns behind my want to know how to lower the salt content of the aforementioned cheese. – 1234567 Aug 1 '17 at 5:19
  • This doesnt answer the asker's question. – JS Lavertu Aug 11 '17 at 0:16
  • @JSLavertu - sometimes the correct answer to "How do I do X" is "Don't". – Nat Bowman Nov 26 '18 at 17:32
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Soaking Halloumi might get rid of a bit of the salt in the cheese that's close to the outer surface, but it isn't going to do much for you. Chopping it up will increase the surface area and allow more salt to be drawn out, it's still not going to make it that much less salty. If you have concerns about salt intake then there is lower salt halloumi sold in places, however that doesn't taste like much.

A little halloumi goes a long way, you could just eat small amounts of it or pair it up with something else. I barbecued pineapple and halloumi skewers this past weekend with a 2:1 ratio of pineapple to halloumi and it was a very good balance. Everyone ended up eating one or two chunks of halloumi in the end, so really overall a moderate amount of salt.

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As GdD mentioned, cutting the cheese in smaller pieces will increase the surface area and make this process faster, but instead of soaking it in water and lemon juice, soak it in fresh milk. The calcium balance of the cheese and milk will stop the cheese from melting as it would do in water.

Depending on the firmness of the cheese, you can leave from one to two days. If you're not satisfied after that and the cheese is still firm enough, you can change the milk and try for two more days and repeatable until it suits your taste.

You can also try to go for the lemon and water method, but then just add a teaspoon of Calcium chloride for every two liters of waters. I have to warn that I had more success with the milk though. Hope that helps!

  • I was near suggesting to try soaking it in deionized water, but I guess that would really melt it :) – rackandboneman Nov 16 '17 at 21:22
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An effective (if time-consuming) way to "reduce" the salt in cheese would be to make it yourself. Want less salt = add less salt.

Be careful about soaking cheese in plain water for too long. Cheese can get a bit slimy when soaked. I believe it is to do with calcium (and lack-thereof in the water).

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