Salt is one of those items that you probably always have on hand. Whether you use a lot of it in cooking or baking, it seems like every recipe calls for salt in some form.
However, this might mean that you have a large canister of salt sitting in your pantry for an extended period of time. Maybe you prefer to use other seasonings and rarely pull out the salt.
Does salt expire? Technically speaking, salt does not expire, as it lacks moisture and is antibacterial. However, there are some exceptions to this, as table salt and other salts typically have some additives such as iodine that could potentially affect the overall shelf-life.
In this guide, we will discuss whether or not salt expires and cover the differences between kosher salt, Himalayan pink salt, sea salt, and table salt.
We will let you in on everything you need to know about the appropriate storage and shelf life of salt to get the most out of it.
Does Salt Expire?
When you purchase a package of salt from the store, it will often be stamped with a best-by date. Does this mean that your salt expires on this date? No, not necessarily.
Salt is sodium chloride, which is a natural element. Our bodies need a small amount of salt for proper functionality, but we don’t require a lot. Most of the time, we use salt to pull out the flavors or enhance the flavor of our food.
Salt can also be used for food preservation purposes. When you purchase frozen meals or things like beef sticks and processed foods that you keep around for a while, you will notice they all have salt.
Salt is part of most curing and preservation processes, including pickling and fermentation.
Salt is used in cooking and baking as well. You will find salt listed in just about any recipe that you are following. Find us a recipe without salt, and that will be the rarity.
Salt can be mined on land but is also found in the sea. You are probably familiar with sea salt.
In short, salt does not expire. Salt also is not considered to go bad. If you store it properly, it can potentially have an indefinite shelf life. But, there are some things to be aware of, particularly when it comes to table salt.
Does Iodized Salt Expire?
First, we’ll discuss table salt, the salt by which all other salt options are compared against. When people use the term “salt” without any other identifier, this is the type of salt they most likely mean.
Table salt, also known as iodized salt, is very refined. It is ground to a fine powder texture. This helps to remove impurities from the salt. At the same time, this process also tends to remove most of the minerals as well.
Here’s the thing with table salt. It tends to clump up since it is ground so finely. To avoid the likelihood of clumping, manufacturers add things like iodine and anti-caking agents.
This is a valuable source of iodine for our bodies, but there are also sources that don’t require high levels of sodium.
The iodine in table salt can actually impact the overall shelf life of the product. The iodine can cause the shelf life to be reduced.
Most table salt brands state that iodized salt is really only good for about 5 years when stored properly.
While this isn’t indefinite, it’s still a reasonable time frame.
Does Kosher Salt Expire?
There are a few different versions of table salt, some iodized and some not.
Kosher salt is a specialty salt. Kosher food, in general, is anything that a member of the Jewish religion is allowed to eat under traditional religious laws. Kosher salt accommodates these standards.
Kosher salt is made slightly different and without iodine so that it has a slightly different effect when it is cooked with.
This is particularly true of meat. The texture and coarseness of kosher salt helps to extract blood from meat so that the meat can be up to kosher standards when prepared.
If you’re comparing kosher salt to traditional table salt, the most noticeable difference is that the flakes are larger and coarser.
Kosher salt can usually be spread by hand or even sprinkled with your fingers because it comes in a larger flake size than traditional salt.
Kosher salt tends to have a slightly different texture and even a slightly different effect on the flavor, but you most likely would never notice when it’s cooked into something.
Here’s the real difference. Kosher table salt does not have the same additives that traditional table salt has. It will most likely not have iodine in it. It is iodine that reduces the shelf life of table salt.
For kosher salt, the shelf life is recommended that the salt be used up by about 5 years. However, the salt does not exactly expire. Since there is no iodine, the shelf life could be indefinite.
Does Himalayan Salt Expire?
Next, we have Himalayan salt. You might also have heard of pink Himalayan salt. For the most part, these terms are interchangeable.
Himalayan salt has more minerals in it than traditional table salt. In fact, you could potentially find 84 more minerals.
Himalayan salt has become increasingly more popular because it has some added health benefits and tends to be better for you than traditional table salt.
Pink Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan. There is a huge salt mine there that produces this type of salt.
Pink Himalayan salt might also include potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. The sodium content itself might be lower than table salt. In general, the chemical composition between these two types of salt is very similar.
It is possible that Himalayan salt has natural iodine in it. It does contain iron oxide, which is a form of rust. However, Himalayan salt will not have added iodine like traditional table salt does.
For this reason, if you store Himalayan salt properly, it will keep indefinitely. It might last forever with no issues. It is recommended that you store Himalayan salt in a cool, dry location.
The key to an extended shelf life is to keep moisture out of your storage container.
If you have a salt block at home that you use for cooking or serving however, your salt block will likely reach an age where you’ll need to throw it out, as it will have had too much contact with oils, heat, and coarse surfaces.
Does Sea Salt Expire?
Sea salt is another popular type of salt. Again, sea salt is often selected because it doesn’t have the added iodine and additives that traditional table salt tends to have.
Sea salt is made from seawater, which has natural salt in it. The seawater is evaporated leaving the salt behind. It is primarily sodium chloride, but there can be trace minerals and even trace impurities from the sea.
The minerals in it can vary depending on where it comes from and who supplies it, but it may contain things like iron, zinc, and potassium.
Sea salt tends to be coarse and less ground than traditional table salt. The flavor might be slightly stronger, but it tends to be preferred over traditional iodized table salt because it doesn’t have the additives that table salt has.
Much like kosher salt and Himalayan salt, sea salt is more likely to last for an extended length of time. Sea salt does not expire, and when stored properly could last forever.
Much like with other types of salt, you will want to store it in a cool, dry location.
Does Pickling/Brining Salt Expire?
Pickling salt is a type of salt that was created for pickling, fermenting, and brining purposes. It is very similar to table salt.
It is ground to a fine powder to make it easily dissolvable. In this case, it is used for preservation purposes.
The biggest difference is that pickling salt does not contain iodine or any type of anti-caking agent like table salt. This means that pickling salt will not expire if stored properly.
We hope you have found this guide to understanding the shelf life of salt to be an informative resource. Most salt will last indefinitely.
Check out our question and answer section for some additional information.
How Should Salt Be Stored?
The quality of salt can be affected by moisture. You should always store your salt in a closed container and place it in a cool, dry location.
You can store it in a pantry or cabinet as long as it is not prone to accumulating moisture.
Can You Keep Salt Past the Printed Date?
Remember that this date is not an expiration date. It is a best-by date that companies have to place on the packaging. Most types of salt will remain good indefinitely while table salt may only last about 5 years.
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