Food Storage Basics: Salt

One of the things you’ll need to have in your long term storage is salt. This might not make sense, considering how we’ve all heard over and over again that salt is bad for us, and it’s true that too much salt can cause all sorts of bad things to happen to your body. Too little salt, however, can be just as bad.

Salt is so important that, of the only four basic tastes your tongue can recognize, one of them is salt. Fortunately, it is very unlikely that you will ever need to worry about getting too little salt. Most people need less than a 1/4 teaspoon of salt every day for good health.

Salt comes in many forms. The one you are probably most familiar with is table salt, which comes in iodized and non-iodized forms. If you are storing this type of salt, it is best to store iodized salt, unless you have a specific reason for avoiding iodine in your diet. (Iodine is an important trace mineral, vital to the proper function of your thyroid. Without enough iodine in your diet, you’ll suffer any number of health problems, the most noticeable of which is an enlarged thyroid gland, commonly called goiter.)

Other types of edible salt include canning salt, kosher salt, rock salt and sea salt. I would suggest storing these only if you already use them as they are specialized.

Inedible salt, such as solar salt and halite, should also only be stored if you have an established need for it. These salts are used in things like water conditioners and for de-icing roads. They are not food-grade and should not be eaten.

Salt can be stored indefinitely. Iodized salt can yellow over time, but it is still good. Salt might cake, if there isn’t an anti-caking ingredient already in the salt. Store it in an air-tight container to prevent this. If it’s already happened, just dry it in the oven and break it up. It will still be perfectly usable.

Salt substitute is used by many people who are trying to lower their sodium intake. If there is a particular brand you prefer, you might want to check with the manufacturer to determine how long you can safely store it.

Additional resources: