Does salt expire? (+3 ways to tell)

In this article, we will answer the question “Does salt expire?”, and how to safely store salt?

Does salt expire?

Salt does not expire. Because it is inherently anti-bacterial and moisture-free. However, the additives like iodine present in salt can develop some undesirable changes in the flavor and texture of salt over time. 

Salt lasts indefinitely if stored properly. It is a kitchen staple and is used for preservation, curing, cooking, and even baking. Read on if you want to know about the shelf-life and storage guidelines of salt.

Does iodized salt expire?

Iodized or table salt is a highly processed salt. It is deprived of most of the nutrients due to processing. To prevent it from clumping, additives like anticaking agents and iodine are added to salt during processing. The iodine present in the salt limits its shelf-life to 5 years only. 

Does kosher salt expire?

Kosher salt does not contain iodine. The coarse texture of kosher salt is particularly helpful in extracting blood from the meat. It has a  different flavor profile than table salt. It is recommended to use kosher salt within 5 years for peak quality. The salt remains safe beyond this time.

Does Himalayan salt expire?

As compared to table salt, Himalayan salt contains 84 essential minerals that the table salt lacks. This type of salt has great health benefits and is mined in Pakistan. Himalayan salt has less sodium and more potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Himalayan salt has natural iodine and iron oxide. It may also have added iodine. The Himalayan salt block will have to be thrown if it has been frequently in contact with oil, heat, or coarse surfaces.

Does sea salt expire?

Unlike table salt, sea salt does not have additives like iodine. Sea salt is prepared by evaporating seawater and might contain trace minerals and trace impurities. Sea salt has a coarser texture and a stronger flavor than traditional salt. Sea salt does not expire. It can last indefinitely when stored correctly.

Does pickling/bringing salt expire?

As the name indicates, this type of salt is used for pickling, brining, preservation and fermentation. Unlike table salt, pickling salt does not contain additives like iodine. Therefore, it will not expire if stored correctly.

How to tell if the salt is bad?

Smell

Salt picks up the smell. If the salt has a very strong off-odor throw it away or else you will end up ruining your food.

Bugs

If the salt is infested with pantry bugs. Throw it in the bin. It mail happens because the food stored near the salt is infested.

Texture 

If the salt has been in contact with water, it forms a rock-solid large clump. It is better to get rid of such salt.

How long does salt last?

Salt is basically Sodium Chloride. Pure salt does not expire unless it has additives in it. Salt performs preservation by depriving the food product of its moisture. Microbes need moisture for growth.

But the commercially packaged salt is rarely pure. Unrefined or unprocessed sea salt has traces of algal products (WIKI:S), iodized salt or table salt contains iodine, and the pin Himalayan salt’s color is due to mineral impurities (WIKI: HS). These additives (iodine and algae) have a limited shelf-life.

Despite the limiting shelf-life of these additives, they do not spoil the salt. However, the salt loses its strength and nutrients if it is way past its best-by date.

The iodized salt that is long past its date loses iodine content. If you are using salt for iodine, such salt is of no use.

In the pantry
Salt(Himalayan, table, and kosher salt) Lasts indefinitely under proper storage
Iodized salt Keep track of the best-by date for peak quality

How to store salt?

For storing salt, treat it like other spices like chili powder and pepper. The rule of thumb is to store any type of salt in a cool and dry place in a well-sealed container to protect it from absorbing unwanted flavors. Keep the salt in a cabinet to protect it from picking up unwanted odors.

An unopened salt package can be stored in the pantry. An opened package is best kept in the kitchen. It is recommended to transfer some of the salt into a resealable salt container or shaker and store the rest of the salt separately.

Iodized salt must be stored away from heat or else it will lose all of its iodine content gradually. Using an airtight container for keeping salt is important to prevent clumping which results due to the hygroscopic nature of the salt.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Does salt expire?”, and how to safely store salt?

References

https://foodsguy.com/does-salt-expire/

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-salt-go-bad/

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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