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Does salt really "expire"

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: monku

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

        1. re: Muskrat

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

      2. 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

          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

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

          2 Replies
            1. re: Hank Hanover


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

          1. 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

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

              1. re: monku

                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

                  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

                    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. 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. 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

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

                    1. 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. 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. "Does salt really *expire*?"

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

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: iL Divo

                            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

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

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

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

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