Salt, or sodium chloride is a mineral which we need to survive, and for most people in the modern western world our diet has more than enough – in fact sometimes too much salt! It’s not just that we add it to food we cook and food we eat, it is present in a lot of food which we buy, sometimes in surprising amounts in surprising food. We might expect it in savoury foods, but it’s also in a lot of sweet foods, and also in products we might not consider as food – toothpaste, medicines and pain killers.

But where does salt come from? Salt mines and the sea… I have been researching salt production from sea water because it features in my next novel, possibly called ‘Saltpans’ – which gives a big idea! From Roman times, if not even earlier, people obtained salt from the sea; in hot countries sea water was held in vast shallow lagoons which would evaporate leaving crystals of salt – it has been done for millennia and it is still done today. However, in our cooler climes, it was necessary to evaporate the water from the sea with human intervention. Sea water was contained in bucket pots, and some evaporation would occur, but then the salty liquid was pumped – sometimes using windmills, into salt pans, vast five meter square iron containers, the saltpans, which were heated, sometimes by coal, sometimes by wood, sometimes by charcoal to evaporate the remaining liquid. This as you can imagine put the pans under some stress as the salt was corrosive.

So salt is used in and on food, as a flavouring and as a preservative, but it has many other uses:

  • tanning
  • medicine
  • chemical production
  • the chlor-alkali industry
  • the soda industry
  • gas and oil exploration and drilling
  • textiles and dying
  • processing metals
  • paper manufacture
  • white rubber manufacture
  • soil additive
  • de-icer for roads
  • salting food
  • in the food industry in many, many ways
  • fire fighting
  • household cleaner
  • windows and prisms
  • … and no doubt much, much more!

It is an amazing product, and it’s no wonder the Romans used it in part payment of their soldiers. I will be sharing more on salt, as I learn more – and I hope to give you peeps into my new book, and what my character Thomas Radwinter discovers about salt production in his little town.

Here is a link to my other books featuring Thomas:

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Salt

  1. My wife put me on a low salt diet and she was right because I was going overboard with it. Months later I would get terrible cramps at night in my legs bad enough that I was afraid to go to sleep. At first I tried calcium/magnesium/ vitamin d3 pills and a banana at night which helped quite a bit but still some mild cramps. The real ticket though was a kosher dill pickle in brine not vinegar that cured me for good. The right balance of electrolytes in your body is crucial for it’s operation especially heart and nervous system. I hope my suffering and consequential discovery of the cure helps you and your readers. Now I have sweet dreams of someday meeting you at the Dolphin for a beer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you found out what helped – I love dill pickles… but I have never had them in brine, in fact i don’t think I have seen them in brine… I must look. You’re right about balance – i think there is so much hidden salt in things we buy rather than what we make at home, and that’s where things can go awry! I shall be delighted to buy you a pint of fine Otter (or Doom Bar if you prefer – or locally brewed cider) when you make it to the Dolphin! Quiz night tonight!

      Like

  2. No cider thanks. Two girls bought me a lime and lager last time in England and I was sick as a dog. I try to stay with low carb lager or lite beer if possible to keep sugar in check. Wonder if you have low carb beer in England?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Too much for me but don’t like cider,wine or liquor. Haven’t had a hangover in years on low carb beer so the problem must be the amount of sugar in regular beer. Pickles in brine are also called pro- biotic pickles and you know how good they must be for you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s