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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 RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah Nov 25, 2009 08:49 PM

      How can it "expire"....this Himalayan Sea Salt is 250 million years old.

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

          Not sure, this company claims their underground salt is 280 million years old.

      2. h
        hsk RE: Sarah 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 RE: hsk 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
            hsk RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah 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 RE: ricepad Mar 6, 2012 03:45 PM

            Ditto! It's a rock.

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


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

          2. Melanie Wong RE: Sarah 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 RE: Melanie Wong 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 RE: monku 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
                  hsk RE: Melanie Wong 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
                    freia RE: hsk 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 RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah 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
                  seamunky RE: seiun 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 RE: seamunky Mar 6, 2012 10:09 PM

                    LOL! Where's the "like" button!

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

                    Chemistry geeks unite.

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

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

                    1. s
                      sandylc RE: Sarah 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
                        freia RE: sandylc Mar 6, 2012 04:22 PM

                        You might find this of interest:

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

                          Very! Thanks...

                      2. Barbara76137 RE: Sarah 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
                          basildip RE: Barbara76137 Mar 6, 2012 11:26 PM

                          LOL--10 minutes

                        2. iL Divo RE: Sarah 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 RE: iL Divo 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
                              basildip RE: ipsedixit Mar 6, 2012 11:29 PM


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

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

                            2. kubasd RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah Mar 7, 2012 05:52 AM

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

                                1. Delucacheesemonger RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah 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 RE: Sarah Mar 7, 2012 02:14 PM

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

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