Can salt expire?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can salt expire” and provide tips on how to best store salt.

Can salt expire?

Yes, salt can expire but you can still use it after its “best by date”. It is a mineral obtained from rock deposits and it is not derived from botanical sources like other spices (turmeric). It does not allow the growth of harmful microbes. In fact, salt is used as a natural preservative. 

It is interesting to note that ‘expiration date’ and ‘use-by /best before date’ on a label have different meanings. The expiration date is the last date beyond which the food item would be unfit for consumption whereas a “best-before date” is the date after which the food item loses its aroma, flavour or freshness. 

ProductRecommended Used By DateWhy?
Plain Table Salt, Coarse Sea Salt, Fine Sea Salt, Sea Salt, Grinders, Kosher Salt5 YearsContains anti-caking additives – however, clumping may occur as this ingredient can lose effectiveness over time
Salt Substitute5 YearsContains additives that may lose effectiveness over time
Natural All-Purpose Sea Salt, Canning & Pickling Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt3 YearsDoes not contain anti-caking additive and may become caked over time
Iodized Table Salt, Iodized Sea Salt, Lite Salt & Iodized Salt Shakers5 YearsIodine can dissipate over time
Nature’s Seasons, Garlic Sea Salt3 YearsFor optimal flavour
Season-All2 YearsFor optimal colour and flavour
Tender Quick3 YearsFor optimal performance of meat cure ingredients
Black Peppercorn Grinder & Black Pepper Shaker3 YearsFor optimal colour and flavour”

Source

How does salt expire?

Commonly, the salt used in the preparation of foods is table salt or iodised salt. Salt does not expire for prolonged periods. It is one of those food items that do not necessarily have an expiration date. 

However, salts are fortified with iodine (iodised salt) because of the prevailing iodine deficiencies in several countries and it can also help in preventing goitre. It is a carrier of iodine, which increases its availability in our diets. The shelf life of table salt is reduced because of the presence of iodine. 

Other FAQs about Salt which you may be interested in.

Can cats have salt?

Can table salt be used to melt ice?

Does salt go bad?

Why Does Salt Have an Expiration Date?

Salt does not have an expiration date but a “best before” date. This means that there could be an alteration in the quality of salt, however, there are no flavour losses. Salt if stored correctly and devoid of moisture can be stored indefinitely. 

How to tell if Salt is bad, rotten, or spoiled?

Salt does not go bad but it could clump together due to an increase in the moisture content in the surroundings. Therefore, it is essential to store salt in an air-tight container since salt stored in kitchens are often exposed to steam while cooking. 

What to do with expired salt?

Salt does not expire, but it is best to discard salt after five years of use because even though salt can be stored indefinitely, several factors can affect its shelf life, such as the iodine content and anti-caking agents. 

Will salt lose its flavour after it has expired?

Salt does not lose its flavour even if it has passed the expiration date because it has not been derived from a botanical source. It goes through vigorous processing so that all the mineral contaminants are removed. 

How to store salt properly?

According to research, the stability of iodine in iodised salts depends on the moisture content of the surroundings. Salt efficiently absorbs moisture, it is essential to store salt in air-tight containers to avoid clumping. 

What causes salt to last long?

Salt is a mineral (sodium chloride) found in rock deposits. It can also be derived from brine water by evaporation. Other spices are usually derived from a botanical source which can result in the loss of freshness, flavour or aroma over time. Since salts in rock deposits are present for thousands of years, they can contribute to its long shelf. 

It can be stored indefinitely, however, the reason why the shelf life is reduced to five years is because of the presence of iodine or other food additives. 

What to do with your salt before it expires?

Salt can be used in several ways before it expires:

  • Since it is an excellent preservative, it can be used to prepare several batches of pickle or sauerkraut,
  • Use the excess salt to make homemade soap since it will give the soap a luxurious feel. Additionally, it will also act as an exfoliant and soften your skin, 
  • Saltwater can also be used as a remedy for throat pain or cough. So, saltwater gargling can provide temporary relief and ease the pain,
  • If you are fond of baking, make some delicious cakes and bread by using salt in it, since it will prevent the growth of other microbes and enhance the taste. 

What are the top uses of salt?

The top uses of salt are as follows:

  • Salt is commonly used as a flavouring agent. It enhances the flavour of bland foods. It also enhances the flavour of other spices present in the food.
  • Salt has been used for decades as a natural preservative. It prevents the growth of microbes in foods by reducing their water activity. 
  • It is also used in fermentation processes where it promotes the growth of microbes that promotes the growth of lactic acid bacteria and reduces the microbes that are harmful. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can salt expire” and provided tips on how to best store salt.

If you have any comments or questions please let us know.

Citations:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK50952/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.