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Does salt really "expire"

Sarah Nov 25, 2009 08:20 PM

In going through my salt supply for turkey brining, I found some w/shockingly old dates and wondered if salt really expires or loses its strength -- kosher, coarse sea salt, sel gris, sea star brittany gray, etc.

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  1. Cherylptw Nov 25, 2009 08:39 PM

    Salt is one of those things that never goes bad or loses its potency...I have salt that I've had at least five years..as long as it stays dry it's good.

    1. monku Nov 25, 2009 08:49 PM

      How can it "expire"....this Himalayan Sea Salt is 250 million years old.
      http://www.natural-salt-lamps.com/edi...

      2 Replies
      1. re: monku
        m
        Muskrat Nov 25, 2009 09:05 PM

        So if Sarah holds on to her salt for 250 million years, it'll really be worth something!

        1. re: Muskrat
          monku Nov 25, 2009 09:13 PM

          Not sure, this company claims their underground salt is 280 million years old.
          http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/1...

      2. h
        hsk Nov 25, 2009 09:05 PM

        No, it doesn't. Where were the "shockingly old dates" - I've never seen "best before" dates on salt. It's a chemical compound (yes, even the expensive ones) that's pretty stable, as long as you store it properly it won't change over time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hsk
          Sarah Nov 25, 2009 09:20 PM

          Among others, I have an unopened box of Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt, undated -- and a container of fin sel gris marked on bottom w/ lot number 2900 12/2004. They have been stored in a cabinet undisturbed all these many years.

          1. re: Sarah
            h
            hsk Nov 26, 2009 06:08 PM

            That's just when it was packed. Not a "best before" date. All salt is fine even if you've had it for years. Just if it's old and improperly stored it might be more like a block. It's still fine to use, you just might have to chip off pieces :)

        2. r
          ricepad Nov 25, 2009 09:52 PM

          Salt is a rock. Ever seen a rock with a freshness date?

          2 Replies
          1. re: ricepad
            Hank Hanover Mar 6, 2012 03:45 PM

            Ditto! It's a rock.

            1. re: Hank Hanover
              tammyh Mar 6, 2012 04:31 PM

              love.

              and considering salt is used to preserve foods, I would hope it lasts a while itself ..

          2. Melanie Wong Nov 25, 2009 09:59 PM

            Those dates might be he expiration dates of the packaging's integrity, e.g., ability to keep moisture out, etc. to hold the salt in its original condition.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              monku Nov 25, 2009 10:45 PM

              The date is probably when the salt was packaged and the lot # identifies where and when that batch was harvested.

              1. re: monku
                Melanie Wong Nov 26, 2009 06:45 PM

                Actually I just looked at some smoked salt I have on hand. It has a date of 8/2009, and I know that I purchased it in 2008. So in this case, not a packaging date.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  h
                  hsk Nov 27, 2009 07:09 PM

                  Probably a clever marketing ploy to sell more product. Although maybe smoked salt loses its smokiness over time (I've never tried it). It definitely wouldn't lose its saltiness.

                  1. re: hsk
                    f
                    freia Mar 6, 2012 04:20 PM

                    WORD. There are no real regulations on the majority of 'best before' dates. Often it is there to scare a consumer into pitching perfectly good stuff. Marketing, I say!

            2. g
              gabes_human Dec 26, 2009 07:26 PM

              Since salt is used as a preservative that should tell you something. It was one of the few methods for preserving food before refrigeration and it worked since there are few microbes (and they mostly live at deep-sea thermal vents) with cell walls that can survive heavy doses of salt. The worst that could happen to your brine mixes is that any herbal additions may have lost their flavour.

              1. s
                seiun Mar 6, 2012 02:28 PM

                If the sodium and the chlorine separate, you could get very sick. I would recommend throwing away any salt that's over 500 million years old.

                3 Replies
                1. re: seiun
                  s
                  seamunky Mar 6, 2012 02:56 PM

                  that's why i keep my salt in the fridge. just in case of separation. especially since it's an "all natural" salt with no added stabilizers to prevent separation.

                  If I don't use it all, I freeze my salt in ziploc bags. If I need some, I can just break off a piece. You can also do the same with any leftover water too!

                  1. re: seamunky
                    Ruth Lafler Mar 6, 2012 10:09 PM

                    LOL! Where's the "like" button!

                  2. re: seiun
                    k
                    Kelli2006 Mar 7, 2012 10:48 AM

                    Chemistry geeks unite.

                  3. r
                    redfish62 Mar 6, 2012 03:53 PM

                    If you keep the salt long enough it turns into Lot's wife

                    1. s
                      sandylc Mar 6, 2012 04:07 PM

                      I suspect that all foods and drugs are legally required to have a "best by" or expiration date. Sometimes, as with salt, it can be pretty silly.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sandylc
                        f
                        freia Mar 6, 2012 04:22 PM

                        You might find this of interest:
                        http://www.eatbydate.com/best-before-...
                        :)

                        1. re: freia
                          s
                          sandylc Mar 6, 2012 04:46 PM

                          Very! Thanks...

                      2. Barbara76137 Mar 6, 2012 05:35 PM

                        I'm using Kosher salt I bought in 1981 right now in making gravlax. If I die, I'll let you know.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Barbara76137
                          b
                          basildip Mar 6, 2012 11:26 PM

                          LOL--10 minutes

                        2. iL Divo Mar 6, 2012 05:36 PM

                          "Does salt really *expire*?"

                          not in this house, with me here it doesnt have time to get old.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: iL Divo
                            ipsedixit Mar 6, 2012 08:51 PM

                            If your package of salt is about to "expire" just add some salt to it to extend its shelf-life.

                            I hear salt is a great preservative.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              b
                              basildip Mar 6, 2012 11:29 PM

                              LOL

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                r
                                ricepad Mar 7, 2012 11:43 AM

                                For best results, make sure the salt you add is fresh.

                            2. kubasd Mar 7, 2012 05:17 AM

                              This thread was a great start to the day... it's always good to start with a laugh :)

                              1. m
                                Maximilien Mar 7, 2012 05:52 AM

                                This question is to be taken with a grain of salt.

                                1. Delucacheesemonger Mar 7, 2012 06:02 AM

                                  When l worked at my handle's store, the company policy was to discard products that went out of date. Boy, did l get a lot of salt, much l still have, no negative health effects yet.

                                  1. k
                                    kathleen440 Mar 7, 2012 12:00 PM

                                    I'm still working on a jar of fleur de sel I bought in 2005 and it hasn't changed one bit. You'll be fine.

                                    1. Bada Bing Mar 7, 2012 02:14 PM

                                      Nope. Just makes some of us expire. Pass the fries!

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