Salt – it Isn’t Just for Pretzels!

Salt is said to be one of the most important things necessary for life, not only in humans, but in animals as well. Because living beings cannot manufacture salt, it is considered an essential nutrient. Without salt, muscles won’t contract, blood won’t circulate, food won’t digest and the heart won’t beat.

While salt is necessary for nutrition, it has many other uses, some common, and some not so common. The greatest single use of salt today is in the production of chemicals. Most of these chemicals, in turn, are used in the production of plastics, paper, soap, aluminum and glass.

Salt is a common commodity in kitchen pantries. While inexpensive, it is quite useful in various ways:
A dash of salt will enhance the flavor of several beverages, including cocoa, coffee, tea and beer.
Gelatins will set more quickly if a dash of salt is added.
Cooking time will be reduced if salt is added to the water.
Salt added to the water will help clean vegetables.
Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not discolor.
Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.

Salt is also helpful in cleaning:
Tea or coffee stained cups can be easily cleaned when rubbed with salt.
Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys
Salt, sprinkled on a wine stain will absorb it.
White rings left on tables from cups or glasses can be removed with a paste of salad oil and salt.
Rubbing the sole of an iron with sticky spots over salt sprinkled on a piece of brown paper will clean it.
When food has spilled onto the oven floor, sprinkle with salt immediately. It will make the mess easy to clean up when the oven has cooled.
When spilled food is smoking in the oven or burner pan, salt sprinkled over it will smother the smoke, and cut down the odor.
Iron skillets are much easier to wash when cleaned with salt.
The flames from grease fires can be smothered with salt.
A mixture of salt and soda water will clean and freshen the inside of the refrigerator.

Salt is useful for medicinal and hygiene purposes:
Equal parts of salt and baking soda can be used as a dentifrice and/or mouthwash.
Gargling with warm salt water can soothe a sore throat.
�½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in a pint of water is useful for bathing tired eyes. Pads soaked in the same solution and placed on puffy eyes will help reduce the puffiness.
Soak tired, aching feet in warm salted water. It will relax your entire body!
You can also add salt to your bath water.
Wet the area of a bee sting, and cover it with salt to relieve the pain.

Then there are the miscellaneous uses for salt:
To fill plaster holes in walls, use equal parts of salt and starch, with just enough water to make stiff putty.
To set fabric colors, soak in cool salted water.
Cut flowers will last longer if a dash of salt is added to the water.
Salt will kill unwanted weeks in your lawn, or between patio stones.
Rock salt will de-ice walkways and sidewalks.
Canvas shoes can be deodorized by sprinkling a little salt in them.

Lastly, salt can be used for fun:
Remember salt dough? It isn’t just for kids; it can be made into clever decorations, Christmas ornaments and even jewelry! The recipe follows.

Salt dough
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-10 minutes until satiny smooth. This will prevent uneven baking and cracking. After molding, bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Check often. When cool, paint as desired.

As you can see, salt isn’t just for pretzels! Salt is an essential component of our daily lives with more than 14,000 known uses, most of which have not been mentioned in this article. Be it course salt, table salt, Celtic salt, rock salt, sea salt, seasoned salt, or one of the many other types of salt – we couldn’t live without it!

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