How Much Salt To Store

Once again, I was replenishing a staple, salt in this case, and I started to crunch numbers in my head about how much salt I should consider storing for SHTF.  I thought enough about it that it turned into a post. :-D Enjoy.

Just as people prepare for disasters, natural and otherwise and purchase cheap home insurance you should be taking food storage even more seriously. When the SHTF, salt can be endlessly useful as will be detailed below and is an insurance that you can’t afford to ignore.

Cooking with/Seasoning with – This part is easy. Even if I include baking in the figures, a couple of pounds of salt would see us through most of a year.

Preserving meat – This one is trickier to figure, but then I thought, what if I assume I want to preserve a half a cow? That’s as good a place as any to start.  That would be on average 200 pounds of dressed meat. And, if we remember our lessons from Chefbears post on Cuts of Meat not all of that will be suitable for preserving. Let’s keep the numbers even, this is back of the napkin level here, we’ll say that 150 pounds of it is  fit for preserving.  If we are using a curing mix that calls for 2 cups of salt per pound of beef, that’s 300 cups  of salt.   That’s good to know.

Pickling veggies – I’m thinking here of things like kimchi, where you’ll need a cup of salt for a crock of fermenting cabbage.  Or, even pickling cucumbers and dilly beans, those usually call for a tablespoon of salt per pint.  Vegetable preservation could easily take a couple of pounds of salt to pickle a large crop.  I think you’d find that after a couple of pounds of salt, jars and space will be your limiting factors, not stored salt.

Barter -I think salt could be an interesting barter commodity too. If you bought it in the small pound containers from the grocery store, it’s around 44 cents, and already portioned out into a convenient amount.  Keeping them away from water would be the hardest part. But, definitely worth a thought.

In the Mediterranean area, including Ancient Rome, salt was even used for money. The word salary comes from the Latin word for salt, because they paid people in salt. -wiki

Besides deciding all of the above, you’ll also want to decide how to split the weight of salt between Kosher salt, and Pickling salt and Iodized salt.  Split it to match how your family eats salt. Spend the money to get it into water proof containers.

How much salt would you store to get through a long SHTF event?

– Calamity Jane

21 comments… add one
  • Tim April 26, 2012, 8:42 am

    I respectfully submit storing salt for barter doesn’t make a lot of sense. As ‘durable’ as salt is, there are much more compact, difficult-to-replicate barter items out there.

    Another good item to have is livestock salt licks for attracting wild game (although probably illegal) in a true TEOTWAWKI.

    • Odd Questioner April 29, 2012, 10:05 pm

      I disagree a bit, but only in that if you ain’t got it, eventually you’ll need it just to stay alive. Most people (preppers or not) will know enough to know that salt is damned important, which gives salt value.

      The good news is, salt is valuable enough that folks will barter for it. However, it’s not high-value enough to attract the wrong kind of attention.

      Some other things to consider?

      * If you live next to an ocean, a salty/saline lake, or a large salt deposit? Probably won’t make much sense to stock up too much on the stuff. If you live in or around Wendover, Nevada (think: Bonneville Salt Flats), you won’t need to stock up any salt at all.

      * Salt Licks make an awesome way to bulk-store salt. Just remember to have some means (a very durable cheese grater plus a salt grinder?) to make it granular.

      * Keep. It. Dry. Wouldn’t want your granular assets to become liquid assets…

  • irishdutchuncle April 26, 2012, 9:18 am

    unless you move closer to an ocean, or a salt “mine”, you should be buying it continuously. you will need “enough” to last until the supply chain is re-established. same idea with soap, and TP. buy a little more than you use, every payday.

    • Michael April 26, 2012, 12:36 pm

      I think the key is: “enough” to last until the supply chain is re-established.

      Since I think that time period is between a couple of weeks to a couple months at the longest and I’m prepping for 1, I don’t store that much. A little table salt, some sea salt, some pickling salt. Not huge quantities of any of them

      • J.R. January 22, 2016, 7:49 pm

        Table salt, sea salt, pickling salt? It’s just fucking salt bro. Sea salt is just coarse salt with some added marketing.

        • Zabeth May 31, 2018, 6:17 pm

          Actually, table salt sold in the U.S. (such as Morton’s for example) usually contains Iodine. Pickling and Canning Salt does not contain Iodine because Iodine will cause pickled and canned products to darken in color. Also, Pickling and Canning salt, since it is Iodine-free, can be used in home cheesemaking. If you use regular table salt containing Iodine to make cheese, it can turn your cheese a green color.

  • ray April 26, 2012, 9:34 am

    Jane, I grew up on a farm in eastern kentucky. We buchered 2 hogs every winter, Grampa used about 200lb of rock salt to “salt down” the meat. After that they kept it coverd in brine/rock salt for months, then hung it up in bags in the smoke house; it would keep that way for years. ( the bags and smoke keep the bugs off the ham& bacon;tastes better than just salt pork) We kept at least 400-500 lb of rock salt in the barn every year. PS salt beef dose not store well unless dryed it will turn even in brine. we ALLWAYS froze the beef . oh yeh those hogs dressed out 500lb+

    • bobcat April 26, 2012, 9:28 pm

      Now that was some useful info there…thanks Ray. 400-500 lbs. is more than most of us store I bet. That probably didn’t include cooking/seasoning salt. Kinda of a survival eye opener.

      • bobcat April 26, 2012, 9:29 pm

        Also….I guess that means we eats the cows first??

  • Ben Price April 26, 2012, 10:53 am

    Since we can, we would need about 1.5 pounds of canning salt for approximately 750 pints of meat and vegetable canning. For making sausage, bacon and smoked salmon(roughly 200 lbs of meat a year, we need about 10 lbs of Kosher salt (excluding sodium nitrate/nitrite curing agents). For table salt, we prefer using salt substitute (potassium chloride), and use about 1/2 lb of that a year. For baking I use about 2 pounds a year. So all told, maybe 14-15 lbs a year. YMMV

  • Cold Warrior April 26, 2012, 11:02 am

    I keep over two tons of rock salt in 40 lbs bags. Much of it goes for my water treatment system, but I never let my supply dip below
    1, 000 lbs.
    We also have Kosher and iodine cooking salt.

    Salt, ice, charcoal, and drinking alcohol can be gold in tight situations.

  • Juliette of OHio April 26, 2012, 12:03 pm

    I don’t know that anything, realistically, will be illegal in true TEOTWAWKI. Game rangers won’t be driving around, but I’ll be furious if someone comes onto my property to shoot at our deer. If they get into the gated garden, it will probably be us shooting. Hadn’t thought of rock salt, so am glad you posted this. I have about 50 small containers of iodized salt and a dozen or so boxes of canning/pickling salt. Am assuming that’s roughly 18 months worth with some for barter. Hadn’t put paper and pen to it. Sam’s Club had a special on canned soup, so I bought several cases of it. The canned variety has a long expiration date (you should only live so long!) and should make a good barter item. Can you recommend a good book for salting meat? That’s one I don’t have and I have no idea how to do it without instruction. Thanks!

  • Juliette of OHio April 26, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Forgot about the rather expensive bottle of sea salt from Trader Joe’s. It’s supposed to have various minerals, and it comes in small rocks, smaller than a tic-tac. It might be handy for personal consumption. Also, got another five bottles of Karo syrup, four clear and one dark. We have six kids, all of child-bearing age, and should they re-produce during this time, the mother might be unable to nurse for various reasons. Hope we can nurse her back to health, but we can also make formula for the baby, using the Karo Syrup, condensed milk, water formula on which I raised my kids.

    • BUDDY April 26, 2012, 12:45 pm

      It would be nice to know the mixture amounts for your nursing formula.



      • Karen April 29, 2012, 1:59 pm

        I googled and found this link:

        Copy/pasted (their opinions, not mine):

        Homemade Baby Formula recipe
        If prepared properly, this still ranks third. Breastfeeding ranks first and commercial formulas second. Under certain circumstances, it may be alright to use homemade formula, but consult your baby’s pediatrician before introducing this to your infant.

        2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
        32 ounces water
        2 tablespoons Karo syrup
        3ml Poly Vi Sol Vitamins

        Mix thoroughly.

  • ray April 26, 2012, 1:13 pm

    I forgot, you will need salt blocks for your live stock 2 per 8-10 head per year + stockpile ; Start by reading the fox fire books . lot of good stuff there. FYI for all you country prepers Mules, they almost never brake down , they won’t roll off the hill , they don’t burn gas , and the work for 30 years.

  • craig April 27, 2012, 9:00 am

    Salt is needed for life,so salt would bring the best deals when used as trade goods. Unlike ammo it will not come back.

  • Walt April 28, 2012, 6:37 am

    I should probably store more plain salt. We do have 45# of Mortons Tender Quick in a 6 gallon pail, mostly salt but with small amounts of sodium nitrate/nitrite which helps preserve food better than salt alone. We can keep our propane freezer going for months, but in case of failure then the tender quick is plan B.

  • JW M April 29, 2012, 1:24 pm

    If you are in an area that raises livestock, go to your feed store for your salt. $.44 per pound is OK but $4.25 per 50 pounds is better. besides for preserving you don’t need the iodine that is in table salt.

  • millenniumfly May 1, 2012, 9:48 am

    This is a good thought exercise but I would suspect that a vast majority of the people have never tried to salt meats or pickle vegetables (me included) so trying to decide how much salt to store to do this is a moot point. However, especially for those land-locked individuals like me, storing more salt than not can’t hurt. :)

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