I have already mentioned many of the items I keep on hand in my pantry; wheat berries, oats, vinegar, baking soda, barley, quinoa, and dried beans. Salt is another item that is perfect to store in your pantry. Both table salt, kosher salt and sea salt are good items to have on hand.
Kosher salt — which really should be called koshering salt — is a coarse-grained salt, named for its use in the production of kosher meats. (It helps to draw blood out of meat, much like drawing water out of eggplant or zucchini.) Unlike table salt, which since the 1920s has had iodine and starch added, kosher salt is additive-free.
Kosher salt differs from table salt in other ways, table salt is granular while kosher salt is shaped like a tiny, delicate, four sided pyramid. Similar to the difference between a snowflake and an ice cube! It helps kosher salt to dissolve in half the time.
Sea salt is made by the evaporation of sea water. It is a finishing salt added after the cooking to brighten the flavor of the food. Though salt is salt (containing approximately 2400 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon), sea salt has fewer crystals per teaspoon than table salt or kosher salt — and, therefore, less sodium.
Salt can be stored indefinitely. Iodized salt can yellow over time, but it is still good. Salt might also cake, if there isn’t any anti-cake ingredient already in the salt. Store in an airtight container to prevent this. If it’s already hardened just dry it in the oven and break it up. It will still be perfectly usable.
In addition to using salt in cooking and preserving food salt also has many other uses around the house.
Test for rotten eggs. Put an egg in a cup of water to which you’ve added two teaspoons of salt. A fresh egg will sink, but one that’s iffy will float.
Grease: Remove grease spots in a rug with a mixture of 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol. Rub hard, going in the same direction as the nap of the carpet, then rinse with water.
Red Wine: Immediately blot up all moisture from the spill, and then sprinkle the area with salt. Let the stain sit for 15 minutes. The salt should absorb any remaining wine in the carpet (turning pink as a result). Then clean the entire area with a mixture of ⅓ cup vinegar and ⅔ cup water.
Candles: Stop new candles from dripping by first soaking them in a strong solution of 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup salt for several hours. Let the candles dry, then burn them as usual.
Fireplaces: An occasional handful of salt thrown into your fireplace fire will help loosen soot inside your chimney. It also makes a cheery, bright yellow flame.
Rust: Mix salt and cream of tartar, and moisten with enough water to make a paste. Apply to a rust stain on a piece of metal outdoor furniture; let it sit in the sun until dry. Repeat the process if necessary. Another rust removal method is to make a paste of lemon juice and salt. Apply paste to the rusted object, and rub with a dry, soft cloth.
In the garden: Kill the grass growing in the cement or between patio stones. Sprinkle salt on the grass and pour very hot water over it. Or sprinkle coarse salt on the grass, let stand all-day or overnight, then pour hot tap water over it.
As you’ve seen, salt is not just for the dinner table. It can be great for cleaning and home repairs as well.