Salt is a key ingredient in our daily diet. It is the main source of chloride and sodium ions in the daily diet of the typical human. Salt also plays a critical role in the health of humans. The sodium in the salt is needed for muscle and nerve function and regulates the fluids in our body. Sodium plays a crucial role in the volume of blood, as well. It is also involved in the control of blood pressure.
The chloride in salt is a necessary element for the stomach to produce stomach acids. Salt is not just crucial for humans but for some animals, also. Many animals need to find salt to add to their daily diet. Salt is used as a seasoning in food and is also used for the preservation of foods that must be kept for long periods of time. It is also essential for creating dried meats.
When necessary, salt can even be used to melt ice on the road if the ice is too thick for vehicles to drive on. Salt is used in the making of ice-cream because it lowers the melting point of the water inside the ice-cream. Salt is necessary for our daily survival, and if you want to buy your salt in bulk or for an emergency, it can be stored for a long time. Let’s look at some ways to store salt for a long time.
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How Long Will Salt Last?
Pure salt or sodium chloride will basically last forever under normal circumstances, but to avoid sounding too expeditious, let’s just say that salt will last for a very long time. If you want to prepare and store your salt for five years, it should at least last longer than that.
When all kinds of other things, like anti-caking agents, are added to pure salt, there will be a shelf-life assigned to it. Some other things added to salt may shorten its shelf life, but it may still be stored for a long time. The biggest problem when storing salt is when it becomes saturated with moisture or starts caking.
The Wrong Way to Store Salt
Salt is naturally hygroscopic and will easily absorb moisture from its surroundings. It will also attract the water around it.
Damp environment: As surmised, it would be wrong to store salt in a place where there is moisture present. Even the moisture in the surrounding air could be absorbed by the salt.
Plastic containers: If you thought that plastic containers would be a good choice to store salt because it is not water absorbent, you are wrong. The chemicals in the plastic may leak into the salt and contaminate it.
Metal containers: All those antique, prized metal containers are also not safe to store salt in. Salt has corrosive properties. The moisture in the salt may cause the metal to rust and contaminate the salt.
Cardboard containers: Cardboard containers may absorb the moisture from the surroundings and saturate the salt stored inside.
The Right Way to Store Salt
The best way to store salt is in a container that is not permeable to water. Salt must be stored in a cool and dark storage place. The storage place should also be dry, and the container you use for storing salt for a long time should be able to be sealed.
The keyword for storing salt long-term is DRY. The area must be dry. It cannot be said enough. Moisture is the biggest enemy of salt.
The container inside a container: If you want to store salt in the original packaging it was bought in, it is a good idea to put that packaging inside another container. Then, it will be safe to use a plastic container with a lid that can seal everything inside. Even if the original container is made from cardboard, you can put it inside the plastic container and seal the lid, and it will last for a very long time.
Glass container: A glass container is one of the safest containers to store salt in. There is just one problem with the glass container – you will have to use a plastic lid on the glass container. The corrosive nature of the salt will eat away any metal lid you may use.
Ceramic or clay containers: These containers are also safe, but you will need a way to seal it. For that, a plastic lid is the safest.
What Types of Salt Can Be Stored Long Term?
Not all salts have an indefinite shelf life. Some salts store better and longer than other salts. Some salts with added ingredients may not have as long a shelf life as pure salt has.
Even though normal table salt has anti-caking agents added, it may still last for a very long time. However, certain salts do not have a long shelf life, so take a look at some of the different salts to determine permissible storage times.
Normal table salt: Normal table salt has anti-caking agents added, but it may still be stored for a very long time.
Iodized salt: This is a little different. As soon as you add other chemicals to salt, it is not sodium chloride anymore, and, strictly speaking, it is no longer common or natural salt. Iodized salt can still be stored for up to five years, even after the chemical composition is changed by adding a small amount of potassium iodide to it.
Pink Himalayan salt: This salt contains around 98% normal salt, and the other 2% consists of some trace minerals, like potassium, copper, calcium, and iron.
Canning and pickling salt: Canning and pickling salt is none other than pure natural salt without the anti-caking agents. It can be used as table salt, as well. This salt can be stored indefinitely.
Natural sea salt: This salt can also be stored for a very long time. Just like your other natural pure salt, it has an indefinite shelf life.
Kosher salt: This salt is a coarse edible salt that doesn’t contain any common additives like iodine. When this salt is stored properly and is kept away from contaminants, it can last indefinitely. Keep in mind, after prolonged storage, kosher salt may change in color slightly, but it is still safe to consume.
Curing salt: this salt is used to preserve meat and fish. It kills any microbes there may be in the meat and helps prevent foodborne illnesses. Curing salt often contains salt, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, propylene glycol, and sugar. Its shelf life depends on its ingredients. It has an indefinite shelf life if it contains salt and sodium nitrate or nitrite.
Rock salt: This salt is also known as ice cream salt and is not meant for human consumption. Instead, it is used to freeze and chill ice cream and other frozen drinks. It may contain calcium sulfate, sand, and clay. When stored properly and away from moisture and humidity, rock salt can have an indefinite shelf life.
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How Much Salt Should I Store?
There are a few discrepancies among the experts when it comes to just how much salt you should store for long term needs. However, the American Heart Association has recommended that an adult needs a minimum of 500mg per day with a daily allowance of 1,500mg.
When you look into some food storage calculators, you will find some feel as if three pounds of salt should be stored per person per year. However, that might be too low of an amount, and some say to store up to ten pounds per person per year instead.
Does the Salt Lose Its Flavor When Stored Long Term?
When you have pure salt, it is a compound of sodium chloride. This means it will not degrade, and it will not lose its flavor when stored long term. However, when the salt is combined with other additives and flavors such as herbs and seasonings, then it will begin to lose some flavor.
For the best results, store your pure salt in an airtight container and then place those airtight containers in a cool, dry, and dark area for long term food storage. The best way to create your long term salt storage is by purchasing the salt in bulk and then repackaging it into smaller containers. Oxygen absorbers are not recommended for long term salt storage.
Now you know how to store salt long term, and we have taken a look at ways to store salt for a long time, you can rest assured that your stored salt will not lose its flavor or get saturated by moisture and start clumping and caking. If you take the necessary precautions and store your salt in the right containers, you can store it away and forget about it until the time you need it.