Friday, April 30, 2010

101 Uses: Salt

Salt is probably the most valuable staple supply from a survial point of view. Salt is one of the very few items you can buy 100 pounds worth of it, and in an extreme situation you’ll be glad you have it.
Its important to know a few things about salt, so as to undertand why its so valuable in survival situations and why it used to be so important in the past, even used as currency in some places.

Salt and water

Today we live in times of excess. We have lots of everything. Water? You have a virtual unlimited supply of it, just open the faucet. But what happens when you have little of it? Salt comes into play.
When water becomes scarce and you see the possibility of that situation being a medium or long term one, you need to incorporate salt to your organism in order to not lose so much water through sweating.

This is an even greater concern when doing intense labour. Removing rubble all day long after a quake/tornado or doing hard phisical labour and worrying about each drop of water you are sweating because you have little water left, or none? That's a problem.

Of course salt is excessive in today’s processed food, but it wont be if your eating unprocessed staples such as wheat, rice, legumes, etc.
While too much salt is bad for you, its even worse if you die of dehydration during an emergency situation.

Salt and Food

The main reason why salt was so important in the old days, was its ability to preserve food. No fridge, meat rots pretty fast at room temperature. Pretty simple to understand. It is true though that salted meat and fish does not taste very well, will usually require lots of rinsing and washing with water to remove the salt excess. Meats preserved with other spices where preferred, often salted meat was intended for slaves or poor class, but none the less, it is a well known method of preserving food.


Its used for making 1% saline solution for cleaning wounds. 10 gr. of salt in a liter of water. Make the solution inside a plastic bag, punch a small hole in it, close the bag tight and apply pressure. Use the jet of saline solution to rinse the wound.
The salt “dehydrates” the microorganisms such as bacteria, killing it. Salt applied directly on a wound will burn and irritate, but it does disinfect so keep that in mind during an emergency if you only have a McDonalds salt packet and a wound to care for.


Salt will remove the blood sucking critter immediately.

Sore throat

It does work very well, by the way.

Many other uses for salt.



Unknown said...

Don't forget that your body needs a certain level of ions (we get a lot these through salts) to function. If our ion balance isn't within a pretty narrow tolerance, your muscles don't work right, your nervous system doesn't work right, and most of your cells can't function as they should. Salt really is a requirement to survive, and the iodine put into "table salt" (at least in the US) is a very very handy thing, especially when nutrition isn't all that it should be.

To put it briefly, you need NaCl for your body to function.

jj in nc said...

I agree absolutely about the salt. Especially as it does not spoil unless it gets wet.

Also on the food note, it can also be very useful for attracting game.

So far as taste of salt perserved meats goes, we have a long tradition of it in the Southern US, but it seems like you should learn how before hand.

I did read in wiki though that it is not good to use salt on leeches as it can make them throw up in the wound as they're letting go, increasing chances for infection. Don't know if it's true, just passing it on.


Anonymous said...

Here's a great article on the necessity of ingesting only unrefined salt.


They have this now at Trader Joes. It's a little damp, but you can put it on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. It will be completely dry and real gray. Then you can powder it in an electric coffee mill. It fluffs up, so you need to use 1/4 more of any measurement in a recipe.