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Should I store salt for SHTF: How much for Survival?

In a survival scenario, salt storage is an important consideration. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, your body needs salt to function, but salt isn’t just for eating; as a prepper, salt serves other vital functions. Below I share the research I did on salt while preparing my family’s long-term storage. I hope it helps you prepare your survival pantry.

For long-term survival, store a minimum of 4.84 pounds of iodized table salt per person, per year, for eating; this will fulfill the Food and Drug Administrations’ suggested one teaspoon of salt per day per person. At .212 oz, there are approximately 74.47 teaspoons of salt in 1 lb or 16oz.  

In a survival situation, all bets are off. Salt isn’t just to make a steak taste good; it’s a matter of survival. In post SHTF, salt is probably as important for curing meat, pickling garden produces, preserving dairy, and bartering as it is as a part of your regular diet.

5 Things To Consider 

  1. Remember that 4.84 lbs of salt storage won’t give you any wiggle room. You may have other uses beyond salt in your diet. For this reason, many preppers suggest a minimum of 8 to 10 lbs of salt per person per year to cover unforeseen uses.
  2. Food Spoilage & Salt Waste salt is an ingredient in foods like bread, which may go bad before being eaten. Brining or pickling experiments can go bad. The possibilities for unexpected salt waste are endless.
  3. Climate and exertion levels affect how much sodium your body sheds, which could change how much salt you consume. According to Harvard University, you can lose 5000 to 6000 mg of sodium in an 8 to 12-hour period of hard labor like chopping firewood.
  4. Start practicing the arts of food preservation by pickling vegetables, salt brining meat, and making cheese, so you will understand your salt storage requirements.
  5. Plan to store more salt than you think you need so you can use it to barter, and you’ll have enough to use for unpredicted purposes.

How Much Salt Should I Store To Cure Meat?

In a long-term survival scenario, you will survive on the meat you raise or the wild game you hunt. One excellent method of preserving large quantities of meat without refrigeration is curing it with salt.

Store 1 pound of sea salt for every 10 pounds of meat to be cured, or use a 10% salt-to-meat ratio. To avoid off-flavors in cured meat, sea salt should be pure and free of additives like anti-caking agents and iodine.

Below are charts to give you an idea of how much salt it takes to dry-cure meats.

Meat to Sea Salt Chart For Curing

Pounds of MeatSea Salt LBS
10 1
Tom Mueller, Eat Cured Meat

The chart below isn’t exact, but it gives you an idea of how much salt you would store to cure a specific animal’s harvest.

Pounds of Meat Harvested Wild & Domestic Animals: Salt To Cure

Animal TypePounds of Meat Typically HarvestedLBS/oz of Sea Salt to Cure Meat
Steer610 61 lbs
Pig120-144 12 – 14.5 lbs
White Tail Deer83 8.3 lbs
Cottontail Rabbit2 3.2oz
Squirrel1/2 .8oz
Fish1 1.6oz
Goat40-50 4 – 5oz
Chicken2.5 – 7 4-11.2oz
Take the average animal size with a grain of salt. You may get more or less meat from each animal as there are too many variables to calculate.

Other meat preservation options include cold smoking, heat smoking, and salt curing using nitrites and nitrates, also known as pink salt or curing salts.

How Much Pickling Salt To Store For SHTF

Pickling is a simple technique using brine, a combination of salt, and water to submerge vegetables for preservation. Pickling garden produce is a survival asset, especially for areas with heavy winters. So, how much brining salt should you store for survival?

Store 1.89oz or 3 Tablespoons of pickling salt for every quart of vegetables to be pickled. For every 10 quarts brined, plan on storing 1.18 pounds, or 30 level Tablespoons of pickling salts. Approximately 2 lbs of vegetables, such as cucumber, will fit into each quart jar.

Vegetable Pickling: Salt to Water Ratio for Brine Mixture Method

Quarts Of WaterPickling Salt, 3 tablespoons per quart, or 5% Weight of Water
The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz, pg. 46, Table 3.1

How Many Tablespoons of Pickling Salt in a Pound?

There are approximately 25.39 Tablespoons of pickling salt in 1 lb or 16 oz of pickling salt.

Pickling Salt: Pound to Tablespoon

Pound(s) Pickling SaltTablespoons (approximately 25.39 tbsp per pound)
These are approximate figures because salt grinds vary.

Amount of Pickling Salt Needed For Pickling Vegetables In Quart Jars

# of Quarts Vegetables BrinedTablespoons of Pickling Salt for brining (.63oz per tbsp)Pounds of Pickling Salt for brining
100300 11.81
200600 23.62
300900 35.43
4001200 47.25
5001500 59.06
6001800 70.87
7002100 82.68
9002700 106.31
10003000 118.12
One level tablespoon of pickling salt weighs approximately .63oz. The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz pg. 46
Multiply the number of quarts by 3 to get the number of tablespoons of salt needed for pickling vegetables.

What is Pickling Salt?

Pickling salt is finely ground, pure salt (sodium chloride) without anti-caking additives or iodine. Using salt with additives like table salt may cause a cloudy brine or an off-color and texture in pickled vegetables.

Can I Use Anything Other Than Pickling Salt

You can use kosher salt and sea salt with no additives. These salts have more minerals because they aren’t overly processed. Some believe these salts make nutrition more bio-available, so they will not use pickling salts.

The downside with non-pickling salts is they are a heavier grind and may not dissolve as quickly into the brine solution.

Is Pickling With Table Salt Safe?

Using table salt with anti-clumping agents and iodine for pickling isn’t a safety concern. It affects the color and texture of the pickled vegetable, which many believe makes the vegetable less palatable.

What is Brine, For Pickling?

Pickling Brine is a mixture of salt and water that you submerge vegetables, cheese, and meats into for preservation.

Store Salt For Dairy Preservation: Cheese Making

If you plan on preserving dairy by making products like cheese, you want to store enough salt for the process. To make hard cheeses, you need salt for drying curds, but the primary use is to stop bacteria and preserve the cheese.

Salt Used To Cure Cheese

Like pickling vegetables, the salt used to cure cheese should be pure without anti-caking additives or iodine.

Salt Brine– Salt and water are mixed, and the cheese is submerged for preservation. How long the cheese is submerged and the brine solution’s strength, the ratio of salt to the water, depends on the type of cheese being preserved.

How Much Salt To Store For Cheese Brining

Depending on the kind of cheese you make, hard, soft, or anywhere in between, the amount of salt you need to brine varies. The average dairy cow can produce 2,320 pounds of cheese per year; that’s a lot of cheese and salt.

Store 1,160 lbs of salt to heavy-brine the average annual cheese production from 1 dairy cow. The average milk production per cow is 2,320 gallons per year, producing 2,320 pounds of hard cheese. A brine solution of water and salt requires 2 lbs of salt per 2 lbs of cheese.

Can You Use Cheese Brine For More than One Batch of Cheese?

You can use cheese brine more than once as it is refrigerated. In a survival situation, you may be unable to refrigerate the brine, so it will be one and done.

For a heavy brine, you are looking at 2 lbs of salt. If you have a dairy cow or dairy goats producing a significant amount of milk, I would do a lot more research on the types of cheeses you will make post SHTF.

Brine RecipesWaterSalt ozSalt lbsCheese/Whey
Light Brine (Feta)1 Gallon14 .882 Cups Whey from making any mild cheese
Medium Brine (Mozzarella)1 Gallon20 1.252 lb Cheese
Heavy Brine (Hard and semi-hard cheeses)1 Gallon32 22 lb Cheese
The Beverage People: Brining Directions PDF

Store Salt For Bartering Post SHTF

Store salt for bartering. Roman soldiers were partially paid with salt, and the Greeks used it to trade for slaves. The term “not worth your weight in salt” comes from the Greek period, “Salt of the Earth comes from the Bible.” Early man was preoccupied with salt for a reason, pre-refrigeration, salt was more valuable than gold.

Why Store Salt For Bartering: Post Apocalypse

In an SHTF situation, our environment may change drastically. If we have electricity, it may not be reliable. Even today, many third-world nations can’t rely on a steady supply of electricity to refrigerate food.

Food preservation techniques like using salt for brining and curing that don’t require refrigeration may be the norm in a long-term survival scenario.

Other items that are good for bartering, such as ammunition, tend to be expensive. If you are on a budget, storing salt is a good option, not just for your own use but for trade.

With a large store of salt, you can trade for things you don’t have or can’t make. Stay Salty.

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