All food storage plans have salt in them. Salt is a vital nutrient, so important that it is one of only 4 things we can taste. The others sweet (indicating a source of calories), bitter (a warning for poison) and sour (an indicator for certain certain vitamins, like vitamin C). Salt is in fact the only inorganic molecule we eat.
Most food storage plans say you need about 5 pounds of salt per person per year, but that is for just regular meal seasoning type cooking that does not include what you might need for preserving food by koshering, salt curing, brining or pickling, nor does it include any for emergency usage.
The best thing about salt it is that it lasts forever as long as it doesn’t get wet.
For food storage having good ol’ regular table salt or iodized salt is the best, mainly because getting iodine for the environment can be a challenge, there are certain vegetables that tend to have more but it is easier to put it in salt and not have to worry about it. The iodine is needed by your thyroid to prevent goiter among other things. Table salt also has some anti-caking agents so it doesn’t form a solid block if the humidity is high.
After the Japan Earthquake of 2011 China saw a huge run on salt, as people thought eating salt would help protect them from the radioactive fallout. Good idea but they didn’t do the math, it would take some 20,000 teaspoons of salt in one sitting to ingest enough iodine to protect your thyroid. I don’t think that will work very well. The potassium iodide tablets would be better as they have a high enough concentration but they have there own side-effects.
Kosher salt is just pure salt without additives but it has been dried in a manner that provides large flakes. Sea salt also doesn’t have additives but may have residual stuff like minerals and seaweed mixed in depending on the processing it has gone thru.
Kosher salt has a great big flakey structure so it doesn’t melt too quickly, that allows it to draw out fluids from meat, which is what the koshering process is all about. If you take a chicken and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of kosher salt on the inside and outside of it, you are koshering it. You need to let it sit for at least 40 minutes so the salt can do its magic.
You can also use it to make cured foods like country ham, but it takes a lot more salt. It really depends on what meats you may have available and if electricity for your freezer is available.
If are into canning or pickling you know about pickling salt, which is nothing but pure salt in a fine grind. You can make your own by grinding up kosher salt in a blender, food processor, coffee grinder or mortar & pestle.
Not all kosher salts are the same, that is to say they are all sodium chloride but they come in different sizes. A 1/4 cup of table salt is equal to 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of Morton’s kosher salt and equal to 1/2 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
So how much to store? I’d say about 10 pounds would be a good place to start, but it depends on if you are raising or harvesting meat animals or not.
Now you must be wondering why on earth you’d want salt substitute in your food storage, you don’t have high blood pressure or a salt allergy.
If you use a salt substitute already you should stock up on this more, but in this case you want some so you can make your own oral rehydration solution, basically homemade Gatorade, for people who are suffering from dehydration from diarrhea or vomiting. This solution allows you to get essential nutrients and electrolytes into the patient.
Homemade Oral Rehydration Solution, for people 12 and up
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt substitute (potassium-based), e.g. Morton’s Lite Salt or Salt Substitute
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Mix thoroughly and allow the patient to take sips until they begin to urinate normally. For children under 12 use Pedialyte, Ricelyte or equivalent.
How much do you need? This is really more of a first aid thing, so 1 pound per person per year should be good.
You’ll want a minimum of three kinds of salt as part of your food storage, per person per year:
- 5 lbs. of iodized table salt
- 10 lbs. of kosher salt
- 1 lbs. of potassium-based salt substitute