Week 4: Salt
8 lbs of Salt
After this week, you should have 8 lbs stored. This is the program goal. This is the only week we address Salt.
One of the things you’ll need to have in your long-term food 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. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. But, too little salt can be just as bad.
Salt is very inexpensive and keeps for a very long time, so please add this to your shopping list this week.
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 ¼ teaspoon of salt every day for good health.
Types of Salt:
The salt you are probably most familiar with is table salt, which comes in iodized and non-iodized forms.
Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. To tell the difference between iodized and non-iodized salt, you would need to look at it on a chemical level. Both types of salt taste the same, look the same, and feel the same. However...
Iodized salt has potassium iodate added to it. This potassium iodate, or iodine, is an element needed in trace amounts to maintain normal health, but it is not found in the normal diet. Since iodine is tasteless, adding it to salt is an easy way to get iodine in the diet. So to answer the main question most people ask, “why is salt iodized?” is simply to prevent goiters caused by iodine deficiency. However, it also helps to combat other lesser known symptoms of iodine deficiency like thyroid problems, squinting, deafness, breast cysts, and developmental disorders. So if you are storing table salt, it is best to store iodized salt (make sure it says “IODIZED SALT” on the container), unless you have a specific reason for avoiding iodine in your diet.
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 more specialized.
Kosher salt is coarse edible salt without common additives such as iodine. It is primarily used in cooking and not necessarily at the table.
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels. Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. Sea salt and table salt contain comparable amounts of sodium by weight.
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, swimming pools 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. An opened package of table salt with iodide may rapidly lose its iodine content through the process of oxidation and iodine sublimation.
Salt might cake if there isn’t an anti-caking ingredient already in the salt. Store it in an airtight 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.
BTW: Salt and sugar will attract moisture and cake or harden. This does not mean that the salt or sugar is not usable, but it must be pulverized before it will pour. By placing these cardboard containers in plastic bags, or plastic water and airtight containers, their shelf life can be greatly increased.
A great way to keep salt from clumping is to put just a little bit of uncooked rice into the storage container. The rice absorbs any ambient moisture and keeps your salt fresh and clump free.