If you listen to general medical advice, you probably think that salt is the enemy. I personally have high blood pressure, and salt can be a bad thing. However, salt has overall been given a bad reputation for no good reason. In fact, a certain level of salt is needed in your diet just to stay alive.
If you look at history, you will see that salt has been one of our most valuable commodities. At one point in time, salt mines were the most profitable type of mine. People would also take days to draw salt from sea water. They would boil sea water slowly removing the water and then scooping the salt off of the bottom of the pot. This was a tedious process, but was absolutely worth the effort based on the uses of salt.
In addition to having salt in your diet, there are dozens of other uses for salt. This becomes especially important in a survival scenario. Whenever you have a single product that can help with dozens of different issues, it becomes invaluable. In this article, we will cover all of the different uses of salt for when SHTF.
Food Preservation – Historically the primary use for salt has been for food preservation. Without refrigeration, meat and fish would spoil within days. This posed a major problem as it prevented travel and forced people to hunt or fish almost every day. Salt naturally draws moisture that would normally cause the formation of bacteria out of meats and fish. By packing meats or fish in salt and drying it out, you can preserve it for weeks or even months. This allowed people to hunt during the prime seasons and then preserve their bounty for the leaner months. It also allowed people to travel further from home. This was especially true with explorers that would be gone for months or even years at a time. Salt actually helped map the world as we know it today. You too can use salt in a survival scenario to preserve meats and fish for tougher times.
Flavoring Food – Any chef will tell you that the single most important seasoning for any food is salt. You may not think that flavor is important for your food when you are trying to survive. That may be the case for a few days, but after eating the same things for weeks at a time you will want flavor. It is vital that you enjoy your food if you want to stay healthy and make it out alive.
Dietary Needs – As mentioned above, salt is a needed part of your diet. If you would survive for several months eating foods with no salt at all, eventually you would get sick and potentially die. The biggest issue happens when a person sweats a great deal and drinks straight water to rehydrate. Your body loses most of its salt content from sweating. Therefore, if you lose that salt and do not replace it you could be in trouble. Of course, in a survival scenario you will be working hard and sweating constantly. This condition is called Hyponatremia and can cause the thyroid to shut down. When doctors administer fluids by an IV, they do not use straight water. They use a saline solution. When you hear about sports drinks adding electrolytes, they are talking about a salt content in their product. It is vital that you have some amount of salt in your diet in order to stay healthy.
Wound Treatment – As mentioned above, doctors use a saline solution for adding fluids through an IV drip. In addition, salt can be used for wounds and skin irritation. Your best option for cleaning a wound is to mix salt with water and rinse the wound on a regular basis. In addition to cleaning the wound, it will help dry the wound preventing the formation of bacterial infection. If you are in a pinch, you can pack the wound with dry salt. However, this is very painful and not suggested. Caring for your feet is vital to survival. As you hike to find supplies or bug out, your feet will get blisters and possibly swamp foot. Soaking your feet in a saline bath in the evening is a good way to help heal your feet as quickly as possible. Skin irritations caused by poison ivy or insect bites can be eased by spreading a salt paste over the area. The salt will draw the oils and toxins out of the skin allowing it to heal faster.
Insect Control – Many insects are actually repelled by salt. In a survival scenario, keeping insects out of your camp and food is vital. This can be done by spreading salt on the ground around your area. You can also mix salt with water and spray specific areas. This will keep your bed and your pantry ant free.
Oral Hygiene – Keeping your mouth clean and healthy is vital when SHTF. Often stress, weather, and a rough diet can cause sores or irritation in the mouth and throat. A saline solution can be gargled to help heal sores or a sore throat. In addition, you can brush your teeth with a salt paste. This is more pleasant than the standard charcoal toothpaste that most survivalist rely upon. For an even better result, mix the salt with baking soda to help whiten your teeth and give you fresh breath.
Clean Cast Iron – As you use cast iron pots and skillets over and over, you will likely have a residue of food build up on the bottom. Water will be invaluable, so washing the dishes after every meal is simply not practical. You can apply a salt paste to the bottom of the pan and scrub the food away. It works the same was as when you brush your teeth. On a side note, you can mix salt and lemon juice to remove rust from metal when needed. This can keep all of your metal items in top condition despite dealing with constant moisture.
Eliminate Odors – Often, food odors will build up in the kitchen. The one that most often comes to mind is the smell of fish. This will cling to cutting boards and even to your hands. Much of this smell comes from bacteria that is forming on the surface. By rubbing a salt paste on surfaces or on your hands, you will eliminate that odor through dehydration. This also will work inside shoes with a foul odor, and down that stinky garbage disposal.
As you can see, salt is much more valuable than you might have thought. While it still must be used in moderation as part of your diet, you can use salt for so much more than seasoning. As salt was a highly valuable commodity further back in history, it will once again become invaluable in a survival scenario. My suggestion is to find inexpensive ways to stock up on salt. Find suppliers that will allow you a discount for buying in bulk. Be sure to keep a good amount of salt as part of your survival supplies, and you will be a step ahead of everybody else.