Growing up I never gave a second thought to a simple item that sat on our dining room table 24/7.
And it was not just in our house but in virtually everyone’s home around the world.
I am talking about salt.
Maybe your family kept it in a little bowl with a lid or some decorative shaker that perhaps resembled a chicken or some other funny looking character.
Either way, I never thought much about the little white crystals other than to say, “please pass the salt.”
As with many things, age brought knowledge and appreciation for the seemingly unimportant, and salt is one incredibly important item most of us take for granted.
Of course, it is not hard to understand why we take it for granted considering it is in almost everything we eat and even drink to excess.
But that may not always be the case.
4 Reasons to Store Salt
Salt is a daily requirement in our diets because it helps to regulate many bodily functions. It helps to balance fluid levels while maintaining blood pressure and aids in muscle and nerve operation.
While many people could do without consuming so much salt, it is something our bodies need. But too much salt can be just as bad as too little.
One characteristic of salt is that it draws in water from its surrounding environment.
This is why many bacteria and other organisms cannot grow in the presence of salt. This is bad for them but good for people, which is why salt has been used as a food preservative for a very long time.
Salt can taste, well, salty or bitter but it can also taste sweet. How it tastes depends on a person’s taste buds and the levels of salt in the body.
It can also be used as a flavor enhancer as it gives bland foods “a little more kick,” cuts bitterness, and can enhance sweet tasting foods.
Salt has been a trade item throughout our history and countries have gone to great lengths as well as traveled great distances to obtain it.
If I run out of salt I cannot just go out into my backyard and dig some up. I would have to go to the store, but what if they were out as well?
Considering that salt has a ton of uses and our bodies need it, having extra salt on hand would prove to be a great bartering item.
5 Different Kinds of Salt
This is derived from evaporating seawater. It can be used in all manners of food preparation as well as food preservation. When stored properly, seal salt will last indefinitely.
Sodium chloride or table salt is one of the most common types of salts used. It is usually mined from salt deposits that are underground and tends to be more heavily processed to get rid of other minerals.
Table salt should have an indefinite shelf life but depending on the brand there could be additives that may shorten its longevity. Always be sure to read your labels.
This is another common salt that is used just like table salt. The main difference is that iodized salt does have additives in it, specifically iodine.
Iodine is something that our bodies require but if you are using only this type of salt, you may be getting too much.
This salt is used for seasoning food and can be used for food preservation but due to the additives, it only has a shelf life of five years.
This salt is mined from the region of Pakistan and usually has a pinkish appearance due to other minerals that are present in it.
It can be used to season foods, for decorative purposes, and is often used for health treatments. It should have an indefinite shelf life as long as it is kept away from moisture.
Canning or pickling salt is a pure form of salt that does not have any additives and will help to keep the liquid in the canning process nice and clear.
When salt in a pure form, it will have an indefinite shelf life but if the brand you choose has any additives the longevity will be diminished.
How to Store Salt
Pure salt does not go bad in the traditional sense that we think food items go bad.
Most food goes bad due to the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. But the majority of these cannot grow in the presence of salt.
The main enemy in salt storage is moisture. Water will cause it to clump up, get hard, and will dissolve the crystals.
The more water that is present will dilute the salt content and make it less effective for its intended use.
Because of this, the ideal way to store salt is in a watertight and airtight container.
Since salt is corrosive, it should not be stored in metal containers.
The best containers would be glass jars, plastic containers, mylar bags, or vacuumed sealed bags.
Once a container is chosen it is best to remove as much air as possible through the use of a vacuum process. This will help to eliminate as much moisture as possible.
Where to Store It
Like many food products, salt should be stored in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight.
In terms of temperature, it does not need to be stored in freezing conditions but ideally at room temperature or slightly cooler.
Tightly sealed containers can be stored in basements, garages, pantries, or lower cabinets in the kitchen.
Even if they are tightly sealed, avoid storing containers of salt near areas of humidity, such as above a kitchen sink or a stove.
Non-Cooking Uses For Salt
Salt is a great abrasive for cleaning purposes. It can be used to clean general surfaces and since it is food safe it is a wonderful alternative for cleaning cookware instead of using harmful chemicals.
Because many microorganisms have a difficult time growing in the presence of salt, it makes for a great food preservative.
The downside is that it requires quite a bit more salt to preserve food than people may realize.
The general rule of thumb is to use one-half cup of salt for every one pound of meat preserved. So, if you are wanting to preserve 10lbs of meat you will need 5 pounds of salt.
If you are wanting to preserve meat in this manner, make sure that you have plenty of salt available!
As mentioned earlier, salt does a great job of drawing in moisture from its surrounding environment. This makes it a great desiccant.
It can be used in containers or packages where you want valuable items kept dry.
Q: Is all salt the same?
A: The quick answer is no. There are “modern” salts that for various reasons have additives in them, such as sugar or anti-caking agents. These additives can change the taste as well as the shelf life of salt. Be sure to always check the ingredient label on salt that you are interested in.
Salt has been an important mineral to have throughout our history and will continue to be so because our bodies require it and it has many other applications.
whether you are using salt to preserve food, enhance flavor, or for health needs, it is one mineral you are going to want to stockpile.
Thanks for reading and stay prepared!
If you have any thoughts on salt storage, sound off in the comment section below and let us know!