This post originally appeared at HomesteadBasics.com and is reposted here with permission.
People have died and killed for it. Ancient peoples used it as currency. Salt is an important and wonderful addition to any food supply, and its versatility is often undervalued.
Salt doesn’t just enhance the flavor and palatability of food; it is essential to human physiology! Iodized salt has been a great way to get that essential trace nutrient. However, some may have some strong feeling about fortified foods. In the US, there is strong evidence to support iodized salt’s influence on reducing Goiters and even decreases in mental retardation in natural births of mothers that ingested iodized salt. Kosher, Sea salt and other various forms are vital and useful.
But, we don’t need very much. The American Heart Association recommends an average daily consumption of 2400 mg (~1 teaspoon) a day. Based on that number, an average adult in good health would consume roughly 4 pounds of salt a year. Adjust your stock according to the number of people in your family, as well as your taste.
However, this just covers the basic physiological needs. Salt can be used to soften water and preserve food, and in a mild and diluted form as an antiseptic. There was a reason your dentist told you to gargle with salt water after performing dental work: It was to help prevent infection. This link gives some great recipes for the antiseptic uses of salt: http://www.saltinstitute.org/Uses-benefits/Consumer-salt-tips/Tips-for-health-and-beauty. As for forms of preservation, it varies depending on whether meat is being used or if vegetables are being pickled. Feel free to research various recipes and use them. Everyone should have a basic jerky recipe, especially one that requires nothing but the sun or a camp fire. The two essential things to remember about pickling and salting is that salt brine requires a mere 10% solution to liquid. When salting, make sure that every surface and crevice is caked with the salt to ensure that while the salt is leaching out the moisture in the meat, it also isn’t putrefying.
If your budget’s tight and food storage isn’t on the list this month, you can always add salt. It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to find…at least for now.