Why can salt dissolve in water?

In this article, we will answer the question “Why can salt dissolve in water?”, and can salt go bad/expire?

Why can salt dissolve in water?

When salt is dissolved into the water, the covalent bonds between the water molecules overcome the ionic bonds between salt molecules. 

The negatively charged hydroxyl ions of the water molecules attract the positively charged sodium ions of salt molecules. 

Similarly, the negatively charged chloride ions of the salt molecules attract the positively charged hydrogen ions of water molecules. 

When the attraction between the oppositely charged ions of the water and salt molecules becomes stronger, sodium and chloride ions break apart. 

Then the water molecules surround the sodium and chloride ions. The result is a homogenous solution of salt in water.

Does iodized salt expire?

Yes, iodized salt expires. It is due to the added iodine which reduces the shelf-life of the salt. Iodine is added to salt to replenish its mineral content lost during extensive processing. It also acts as an anti-caking agent and prevents the salt from clumping. 

Most of the table salt brands label the shelf life of iodized salt to be somewhere around 5 years which is a pretty long shelf-life in my opinion.

Does kosher salt expire?

Kosher salt lacks iodine and has a coarser texture than regular salt. It is particularly used for meat because It can draw all the blood from the flesh.

Kosher salt provides different flavors and contains different additives as compared to regular salt.  Due to the absence of iodine, kosher salt is considered to be safe indefinitely but It is recommended to consume it within 5 years for best quality. 

Does Himalayan salt expire?

Himalayan or Pink Himalayan salt is different from regular salt in terms of its mineral content. This salt contains more than 84 different types of minerals. 

Himalayan salt does not have added iodine but it may contain natural iodine since It is one of the minerals. 

It also contains iron oxide; a type of rust. If Himalayan salt is kept in a cool, dark, and dry place, It can last indefinitely. 

Does sea salt expire?

No sea salt does not expire. It can also indefinitely If stored correctly. Unlike regular salt, sea salt does not contain additives including iodine which makes the sea salt last longer. 

Since sea salt is obtained by evaporating seawater, It is likely to contain trace minerals and trace impurities from the sea. Sea salt has a coarser texture and a stronger flavor than regular salt. 

Does Pickling/Brining salt expire?

As the name suggests, this type of salt is used for pickling, brining, or fermentation. Since pickling salt does not contain additives like iodine, It won’t expire. Like Himalayan and sea salt, It will last indefinitely under the correct storage conditions. 

How to store salt?

Whether the salt is additive-free or not, It needs to be stored correctly to keep it safe. Since salt is hygroscopic, therefore, water is the worst enemy of the quality of salt. 

Salt can absorb moisture, steam, and any unwanted odors easily. To avoid this problem, salt must be kept in an air-tight container or a pouch. 

A grinder or salt shaker will also work since It is air-tight and accommodates only a small amount of salt which will be used up quickly. Keep the salt away from heat sources like direct sunlight and stovetop. 

The rule of thumb is to store the salt in a cool, dry, and dark place away from heat and anything that has a strong smell.

Other FAQs about Salt which you may be interested in.

Can you melt salt?

What happens when adding salt to pasta water?

How to tell If the salt has gone bad?

If any of the following spoilage signs are present in your salt, you better throw it in the bin.

Salt smells odd

Salt can easily pick up odors. If your salt smells bad and It might ruin your dish, discard it right away.

Dead bugs in the package 

If your salt package is infested with bugs, discard it. Even If you see one bug, It indicates the presence of more adult bugs and their eggs.

Salt in a large and hard clump 

If the salt clumps up, It is because It has been exposed to moisture. If the clumps are soft and break up easily when you press them with your fingers, It is probably good to use. But If the clump is hard as a rock and won’t break despite smashing it, get rid of it.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can table salt go bad?”, and how to store salt to extend its shelf-life?

References

https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/water-molecules-and-their-interaction-salt-molecules

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

https://realsalt.com/can-salt-go-bad/

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

https://www.newsday.com/lifestyle/restaurants/burning-questions-does-salt-spoil-1.3888772

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.