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Salt For Food Storage

1. Salt
Storage life for salt is indefinite. So long as you do not let it get
contaminated with dirt or whatever, it will never go bad. Over time,
iodized salt may turn yellow, but this is harmless and may still be
used. Salt is rather hygroscopic and will adsorb moisture from the air
if not sealed in an air-tight container. If it does adsorb moisture and
cakes up, it can be dried in the oven and then broken up with no harm

All salt, however, is not the same. Salt comes in a number of different
varieties, each with its own purpose. Very little of the salt produced
in the U.S. is intended for use in food. The rest of it, about 98%, has
other uses. Therefore, it is important to be certain the salt you have
is intended for human consumption. Once you are satisfied it is, you
should then determine its appropriateness for the tasks to which you
might want to set it to. Below is a partial list of some of the
available salts. I hope to make it more complete as I find better

2. Table Salt
This is by far the most widely known type of salt. It comes in two
varieties; iodized and non-iodized. There is an ingredient added to it
to absorb moisture so it will stay free flowing in damp weather. This
non-caking agent does not dissolve in water and can cause cloudiness in
whatever solution it is used if sufficiently large quantities are used.
In canning it won't cause a problem since there is very little per jar.
For pickling, though, it would be noticeable. If you are storing salt
for this purpose, you should be sure to choose plain pickling salt, or
other food grade pure salt such as kosher salt. In the iodized
varieties, the iodine can cause discoloration or darkening of pickled
foods so be certain not to use it for that purpose.

3. Canning Salt
This is pure salt and nothing, but salt. It can usually be found in the
canning supplies section of most stores. This is the salt to be
preferred for most food preservation or storage uses. It is generally
about the same grain size as table salt.

4. Kosher Salt
This salt is not really, in itself, kosher, but is used in "kashering"
meat to make the flesh kosher for eating. This involves first soaking
the meat then rubbing it with the salt to draw out the blood which is
not-kosher and is subsequently washed off along with the salt. The
remaining meat is then kosher. What makes it of interest for food
storage and preservation is that it is generally pure salt suitable for
canning, pickling and meat curing. It is of a larger grain size than
table or canning salt, and usually rolled to make the grains flaked for
easier dissolving. Frequently it is slightly cheaper than canning salt
and usually easier to find in urban/suburban areas.

NOTE: Not all brands of kosher salt are exactly alike. Diamond Crystal
Kosher Salt is the only brand that I'm aware of that is not flaked, but
still in its unaltered crystal form. The Morton brand of Coarse Kosher
Salt has "yellow prussiate of soda" added to it as an anti-caking agent.
Morton still
recommends it for pickling and even gives a kosher dill recipe on the
box so I presume that this particular anti-caking agent does not cause
cloudiness in pickling solutions.

Whether flaked or in its unaltered crystal form, kosher salt takes up
more volume for an eqivalent amount of mass than does canning salt. If
it is important to get a very precise amount of salt in your pickling or
curing recipe you may want to weigh the salt to get the correct amount.

5. Sea Salt
This type of salt comes in about as many different varieties as coffee
and from about as many different places around the world. The "gourmet"
versions can be rather expensive. In general, the types sold in grocery
stores, natural food markets and gourmet shops have been purified enough
to use in food. It's not suitable for food preservation, though, because
the mineral content it contains
(other than the sodium chloride) may cause discoloration of the food.

6. Rock or Ice Cream Salt
This type of salt comes in large chunky crystals and is intended
primarily for use in home ice cream churns to lower the temperature of
the ice filled water in which the churn sits. It's also sometimes used
in icing down beer kegs or watermelons. It is used in food preservation
by some, but none of the brands I have been able to find label it as
food grade nor specifically mention its use in foods so I would not use
it for this purpose.

7. Solar Salt
This is also sometimes confusingly called "sea salt". It is not,
however, the same thing as the sea salt found in food stores. Most
importantly, it is not food grade. It's main purpose is for use in water
softeners. The reason it is called "solar" and sometimes "sea salt" is
that it is produced by evaporation of sea water in large ponds in
various arid areas of the world. This salt type is not purified and
still contains the desiccated remains of whatever aquatic life might
have been trapped in it. Those organic remains might react with the
proteins in the foods you are attempting to preserve and cause it to

8. Halite
For those of us fortunate enough to live in areas warm enough not need
it, halite is the salt that is used on roads to melt snow and ice. It,
too, is not food grade and should not be used in food preservation. This
form of salt is also frequently called rock salt, like the rock salt
above, but neither are suitable for food use.

9. Salt Substitutes
These are various other kinds of metal salts such as potassium chloride
used to substitute for the ordinary sodium chloride salt we are familiar
with. They have their uses, but should not be used in foods undergoing a
heated preservation processing, as they can cause the product to taste
bad. Even the heat from normal cooking is sometimes sufficient to cause

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