By Gaye Levy
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
One of the very first things I did when I first started prepping was to bolster my pantry with basic staples that could be used for variety of purposes. When it was suggested that I store salt, and lots of it, I was a disbeliever. After all conventional mainstream wisdom had taught be that salt was the bad guy. Or was it?
I made it my mission to determine whether is salt a good thing, a bad thing or simply something best treated as an item to “use in moderation”.
Salt as The Bad Guy
According to the Mayo Clinic, lowering your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a recent article in the “New England Journal of Medicine” looked at the potential impact of reducing salt intake.
The report found that if Americans cut their salt intake by 3 grams a day, new cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attack would significantly drop — as would the number of deaths. The authors estimate that these changes could save between $10 billion and $24 billion in health care costs annually. In light of this, many experts are calling on food manufacturers and restaurants to lower the amount of salt in the foods they sell.
But Is That Really True?
On the other hand, salt/sodium is vital to keep our bodies functioning normally. It is a main component of the extracellular fluids in the body and is important for regulating hydration and other body functions such as the transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
So although I personally have issues when there is too much salt in my diet, I tend to think that the use of salt is an individual thing.
How Much Salt Is Needed for Survival and Why?
For most of us, the amount of salt needed to stay healthy can be found in processed, packaged or canned foods. Let us hope that we have stored enough of these foods – especially the canned items – that we will never need to worry about adding more.
Which leads me to the next point: what are the uses of salt in an emergency situation?
Here are a few off the top of my head:
1. Preserving meat, fish and game that is caught in the wild
2. Providing the nominal amount of dietary sodium once the canned and processed foods are gone
3. Taste enhancement (perhaps this should be number one!)
4. As a natural cleaner
5. First aid & personal care (i.e bee stings, mosquito bites, gargle for sore throats, teeth cleaning)
Having gone most of my adult life avoiding salt, coming to terms with adding salt to my survival pantry was true mind-shift. Not only is there a physiological need for our bodies to ingest salt in one form or another, but there are a multitude of other uses aside from food enhancement and food preservation.
What are some of those uses? This week I am sharing some non-conventional uses of salt compiled by my colleague ‘Above Average’ Joe at SurvivalLife.com.
27 Additional Reasons to Use and Store Salt
Salt has been an integral part of civilization dating back as far as 6050 B.C. It has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales and is frequently referenced in fairy tales.
It served as currency at various times and places, and it has even been the cause of bitter warfare. Offering bread and salt to visitors, in many cultures, is traditional etiquette.
Aside from all of the uses that salt performs in terms of baking, food flavor and food preservation, salt has a number of other uses that you may never have thought of.
1. Remove Rust
Make a paste using 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Apply paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
2. Perk Up Coffee Flavor
Add a pinch of Salt to the coffee in the basket of your coffeemaker. This will improve the coffee’s flavor by helping to remove some of the acid taste.
3. Dispose of Disposal Odor
To help remove odors from garbage disposals, pour 1/2 cup of Salt directly into the garbage disposal. By running the disposal following manufacturer’s directions, you’ll send those odors down the drain.
4. Eliminate Fish Odors
Removing fish odor from your hands is simple with Salt. Just rub your hands with a lemon wedge dipped in salt, then rinse with water.
5. Cut Cutting Board Odors
To help cut odors off of your wooden cutting board, simply pour a generous amount of Salt directly on the board. Rub lightly with a damp cloth. Wash in warm, sudsy water.
6. Soothe Sore Throats
To alleviate the discomfort of a mild sore throat, gargle several times daily with a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon Salt and 1/2 cup warm water*. It’s like taking a liquid lozenge.
7. Treat your Tootsie’s
To prepare a salt water bath, pour 6 quarts (1-1/2 gallons) warm water in a large basin. Mix in 1/4 cup Salt and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak feet for up to 15 minutes.
8. Boiling Water
Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).
9. Testing egg freshness
Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonful’s of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; if it floats, toss it.
10. Cleaning greasy pans
The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper towels.
11. Cleaning stained cups
Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.
12. Save the bottom of your oven
If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. It won’t smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled.
13. Fend Off Fire From A Rogue BBQ
Toss a bit of salt on flames from food dripping in barbecue grills to reduce the flames and calm the smoke without cooling the coals (like water does).
14. Removing pinfeathers
To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.
15. Preventing mold
To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.
16. Keeping milk fresh
Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.
17. Scaling fish
Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.
18. Non-stick pancakes
Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won’t stick.
19. Keeping cut flowers fresh
A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.
20. Keeping patios weed-free
If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.
21. Killing poison ivy
Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.
22. Deodorizing shoes
Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.
23. Relieving bee stings
If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.
24. Deter ants
Sprinkle salt at doorways, window sills and anywhere else ants sneak into your house. Ants don’t like to walk on salt.
25. Clean teeth
Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda, dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual.
26. Melt snow and ice
Sprinkle salt on snow or ice to melt away.
27. Removing soot
Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.
The term “worth one’s weight in salt” means that a person is effective and efficient or deserving of one’s pay.
Now granted, some of these uses are handy dandy but not applicable to survival. Still, as Joe has demonstrated there are a ton of day-to-day uses for salt that will make our lives easier if not more pleasant.
The Final Word
I checked a number of sources and the consensus is that you should store 5 to 10 pounds of salt per person as a one year supply. This seems like a lot to me but, given that salt is so cheap, there is no harm in stocking some for emergency purposes. And now that I think about it, with so many uses, I would recommend storing a bit more for use as barter currency.
The other thing worth mentioning is that salt is easy to store. You can use Mylar bags, buckets or even re-processed jars or soda bottles. Just remember that you should not use an oxygen absorber because if you do, the salt will turn in to a solid brick!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Recent articles by Gaye Levy
- 26 Five-Minute Prepping Projects
- Embracing Phytochemicals for Health and Survival
- Growing, Grinding and Cooking Wheat
- 28 Ways to Use Coffee Filters for Survival
- The 10 Commandments of Survival
- 10 Simple Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency
- City Farming with Backyard Quail – An Alternative to Raising Chickens
- Creating a Healing Garden – 9 Healing Herbs You Can Grow Yourself
About Gaye Levy
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com.
At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.
About ‘Above Average’ Joe
A little about me: I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I want to welcome you to the Survival Life community and look forward to growing with you! Thank you, Gaye, for inviting me to share the Survival Life with your readers!