When we are writing blogs, we run across some interesting tidbits. These tidbits can trigger an “I want to know more about that.” That is how I come to write this blog on salt and its origin. I wanted to know why it was considered so valuable? Why was it utilized as a payment method? Now I have thought of another idea to write a blog. What are all the payment methods ever used? Maybe, this would be a big undertaking, but an interesting one.
DEFINITION OF SALT
a crystalline compound, sodium chloride, NaCl, occurring as a mineral, a constituent of seawater, etc., and used for seasoning food, as a preservative, etc. (This definition is from Dictionary.com.)
HOW OUR FAMILY USED SALT
Having experienced the use of salt, I can say we were in a briny situation. My father used salt to cure meats and keep them from going rancid and to preserving them for months, especially hams. My sisters and I would help him pack as much salt on to the pork as we could and then hang them in the curing house to cure (to dry). We had to resalt several times; this is the way he would preserve our meat. We made sausage as well as other items from the pork. My aunt would help my mother to can the sausage by packing it in jars. I think about the sausage even today and how good it was.
We also used salt in the canning of the vegetables. There were many shelves in the building where the canned goods were stored. During the canning season, they would all be full. To a child, this was a wondrous place with such a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits stored there. We would put salt onto the item packed in the jar, and then pour good clean water over them, preparing them for processing in the canners.
I love pickles, so I would make my own, soaking them in briny saltwater for days and sometimes weeks. I would make bread and butter, style pickles, also sweet and dill slices. There was much work involved, but well worth the effort. There was a value of salt for our family.
SALT A GOOD SOURCE OF MINERALS
Humans and animals need salt and minerals derived from it. I know when my potassium drops, I crave salty things because I need what is in salt to restore my minerals and balance my electrolytes. The hospitals give us a saline solution in IV drip when you go into hospital with heart issues, as they did for my husband when he was in many times. This was to keep his potassium and electrolytes at a safe level. The potassium helps to keep our fluid in balance.
My father would put saltlicks out for the animals, in that time, natural, unprocessed salt. So salt was and is a precious and needed asset.
Businesses that process and market salt
There are several places in the United States where companies harvest the salt. I know of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and Belle Isle in Louisiana. Other sites are Michigan, Texas, New York, Ohio. The majority of salt comes from the ocean. Some come from salt mines like gold. Several companies have processing plants, and make many forms of salt, and sell it to a variety of businesses.
Every year there are approximately 250 million tons of salt produced. The United States and China produce forty percent.
Some of the type businesses who purchase and use salts
Spas, Cannieries, Bakeries, Cheese factories, Meat processors, Pharmaceutical companies, and Towns and Cities use salt on roadways before snow or ice storms. Plastic producers use salt in their basic mixture. Paper Companies use it in making pulp.
A few known uses for salt
There are 14,000 uses for salt, according to the Salt Works Company. I will not list them all here, but will refer to a few we have used: putting out stove fires, scrubbing pots and pans, mother had us, children, to gargle with salt water when we had a sore throat, and we still do in this day and time when needed. I would dye clothes in a vat or large pot of hot dye water, and when the fabric was the shade I wanted, I would remove from the hot water into a tub or pan of cold salt water to set the dye. Good memories.
In ancient times salt was used as a means of bartering, as I stated in another blog, “The Barter System,” And how the Romans used salt to compensate their soldiers. The word salt came to mean soldiers and evolved into salary.
The Nomads of Ethiopia are known to use salt as money even today.
In the sixth century, the Moores traded an ounce of gold for an ounce of salt. Some places made coins from salt. They were called amoles.
In the bible, salt is mention numerous times, indicating the great value and worth of salt. It applied to humanity, in describing the quality of a being. Some other sayings I remember, You are the salt of the earth, You are worth your salt, or he is worth his salt, meaning they were creditable, honourable, and worthy, humans, this also applied to their spiritual sense.
So let us be a salted people with honorable hearts. Let us show goodness and mercy toward all men, especially to our families. With honor and dedication, we will endeavor to do the same in our businesses.