Salt is a valuable commodity that could become hard to come by in a long term disaster situation. In Ancient Rome, salt was used as a form of currency because of it’s importance in preserving food. In fact, it is still used today as a form of currency in some parts of Africa. It was a prime mover of both economy and war. The importance of having a good supply of salt is commonly overlooked but very well may be the highest commodity after a societal collapse or survival situation.
Salt has been an integral part of civilization dating back as far as 6050 B.C.
Salt 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.
In the CBS apocalyptic series, Jericho, there were towns that literally went to war over salt. And in the Pat Frank book, “Alas, Babylon” the community in Florida were heavily involved in the collection of salt.
Everyone knows that salt is a necessity in food preparations, but it has many other important functions around a homestead environment as well. Animals, as well as humans cannot live without some salt in their bodies. On a physiological level, salt is a requirement to sustain a body. Specifically, salt assists in regulating the functioning of the digestive system and the kidneys, as well as helps conduct electric signals in the body. Additionally, farmers have also used Epsom salt to heal scratches and rashes on their livestock. This type of salt suppresses muscle aches and inflammation.
- Food preservation – Table salt is the most important ingredient in curing food. According to Wikipedia, salt kills and inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of the cells of both microbe and food alike through osmosis.
- Medical Purposes– Modern medicine has recently rediscovered the healing effects of salt on the body. Salt provides antiseptic and bactericidal qualities when ocean salt is used. A way to treat chronically inflamed skin is by bathing in salt (Dead Sea salt or normal salt can be used). The salt helps to regenerate the skin. Therefore, it would be effective in the use of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and chronic eczema, inflamed mucous membranes, as well as arthritis.
- Tanning hides is another way that salt can be used on the homestead. The salt preserves the hide. Experts suggest that for “Hair on tanning,” spread fine granular salt (table salt, canning salt or solar salt) on the hide to completely cover it. The hide should be salted for 1-3 days.
- Soaps can get an added boost when adding salt, specifically sea salt to the soap making process. The added benefits are that the salt will exfoliate skin and naturally heal the skin from it’s natural antiseptic factors. There are different methods to the soap making process, and research should be done as to which process is right for you. Additionally, a person can add 1 cup of finely ground sea salt to 1 cup of liquid soap to make a daily exfoliating soap.
- Livestock – Mineralized salt blocks are a supplemental feeding that can be fed to livestock such as horses, sheep, and goats. Not to mention, salt blocks can be used to attract wildlife. Deer will go the distance to find salt blocks. Luring wildlife to the homestead would be a beneficial way to hunt without wasting much needed energy when searching. The wildlife will literally come to you.
Salt is a multipurpose, low cost prep that will be highly desirable if a long term disaster were to come around. Prepping calculators suggest having 25 pounds of salt stored for one year. With all of the uses that salt can provide, perhaps we should think about stocking up a little more on this worthwhile prep item.
Modern Marvels – Salt Mines