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Inland salt acquisition

 
Posts: 7
Location: Greater Vancouver Wa
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Obviously, salt is one of the critical resources for food preservation and nutrition. If purchasing salt is not an option, how can salt be acquired from an inland location? Of course, one could purchase “copious” amounts of salt just to have, but an ideal solution would be one that accounts for potential loss/damage of stored supplies by having methods to procure from the environment. It seems logical that native peoples had this skill, barring extensive trading systems. Preliminary searches on the interwebs return null. Anyone know how to do this?
 
pollinator
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Unless you live near an area with underground salt deposits which may come up to the surface as brine springs there is no way to get salt inland. People traded for salt. Outside of salt rich areas it wasn't used in food preservation or cleaning precisely because it was so hard to get hold of. In Europe you are never very far from either salt deposits or the sea or both so many European preservation methods use salt, in other areas of the world people used different methods like drying that don't require salt.

That map shows where salt can be available in Europe and you are never more than a few hundred miles from the closest area.
 
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There are a few ways inland. Trade would still have been a major factor.

1. Saline lakes
2. Salt mines
3. Salt flats - there’s one in OK that I visited a few times growing up and it was like walking onto a sci-fi world

And this neat little Wikipedia anecdote: “The Ayoreo, an indigenous group from the Paraguayan Chaco, obtain their salt from the ash produced by burning the timber of the Indian salt tree (Maytenus vitis-idaea) and other trees.”
 
pollinator
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Salt is commonly mined where there is no local source of salty seawater. Rock salt forms as the buried remains of dried up seabeds and inland saltwater lakes. There are layers of salt hundreds of meters thick in some places, such as under the Mediterranean.

Underground Salt Mines

One estimate I saw was that the mines under the med could provide all of humanities salt needs for the next one hundred million years. From that source alone.

As for your supposition that primitive people would have had ways to extract salt from their environment in the absence of salt water, I think this is highly unlikely. Salt was historically highly prized, both for it's preservative value for storing food but also for flavour and (not understood at the time) necessary trace minerals. It almost certainly would have been traded extensively and over long distances, but unlike other trade goods like stone tools, jewellery, shells etc... it would have left no trace on the archaeological record.

For evidence that it was historically highly valued; roman soldiers were often paid in salt. Thus your "salary" was literally the salt you were paid for working. Elsewhere there are evaporation ponds along coast lines that date back thousands of years, where salt was extracted from seawater in hot climates using the sun. I also once visited a site in Scotland which had evidence of an illegal historical salt production site. Salt was taxed and regulated so on remote islands, where coal deposits were near the coast, there was a thriving blackmarket production in salt. I'm not sure of the exact age of the one I saw on Arran, but it was a few hundred years old at least.
 
pollinator
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Some inland regions have salt deposits. One of my online friends has to desalinate her well water because of the salt content, and I believe she lives in Idaho.

Certain plants tend to accumulate salts naturally. Coltsfoot and lambsquarters are both high on that list. I've heard of people burning coltsfoot leaves to ash, and using the ash in place of salt.

Ashes in general can be high in sodium, but purifying it is a challenge.


This is one of those questions that I keep looking for a better answer to, but haven't found it yet.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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I found an interactive map of mineral resources in the US. You can set it for the mineral you're looking for, including salt.

https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/map-commodity.html
 
Posts: 54
Location: SW Alabama zone 8a & 8b
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Hickory roots and twigs, walnut and pecan also but have not tried them.  Dandelion and yellow dock roots.  You boil them in a lot of water and let it boil out being careful not to scorch it.  The last little bit of water can be evaporated off and the crystals will be left. You could just use the liquid in soups and batters. Most meats contain some sodium and several veggies.  I found this chart:


IMPORTANCE OF INCLUDING FOODS WITH SODIUM IN YOUR DIET
Effects of Low Sodium Intake:

Can increase LDL (bad cholesterol) by 4.6% approximately
Can increase in triglycerides by 5.9%
Cause insulin levels to rise resulting in obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes
Reduce hyponatremia in athletes
On the contrary a reduction in sodium intake helps in lowering blood pressure.


LIST OF HIGH SODIUM FOODS

Foods Milligrams per serving %DV
Table Salt (1tbs) 2325 mg 97%
Dairy Foods with High Sodium
Buttermilk (per ounce) 400 mg 16.5%
Roquefort (per ounce) 507 mg 21%

VEGETABLES HIGH IN SODIUM
Tomato Juice (per 8 ounce) 700 mg 29%
Swiss chard (100gm) 213 mg 9%
Artichokes (100gm) 94 mg 4%
Spinach (100gm) 79 mg 3.25%

FRUITS HIGH IN SODIUM
Beet Greens (100gm) 78 mg 3.25
Olives (100gm) 735 mg 30.50%
Others
Pumpkin Seeds (per ounce) 711 mg 30%
Cucumber (Pickle 65g) 785 mg 33%
Soy Sauce (1 tbsp) 409 mg 17%
Mustard 1,135 mg ~60%
Tortilla (6-inches) 200 mg 8.5%
Cornflakes (one cup) 200 mg 8.5%

NON-VEGETARIAN FOODS HIGH IN SODIUM
Bacon (100gm) 1,717 mg 7%
Shrimps (100gm) 111 mg 4.75%
Beef Jerky (100gm) 2,081 mg 87%
Oyster (100gm) 417 mg 17.4%

This was a great question and made me do some research beyond the root twig liquids I already knew.
 
Skandi Rogers
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I think most of the high sodium items on your list there are processed. actual pumpkin seeds only contain 6mg of salt per ounce. mustard seeds have even less at just over 4mg per ounce.

Interesting that chard has a decent amount though I do think that will depend on the make up of your soil my chard probably has more as I'm fairly close to the sea but if the soil doesn't have much then the chard can't either.
 
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Hi CI,

Can you identify the source for the list?  Thanks!
 
Cl Robinson
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John F Dean

This

https://www.hxbenefit.com/foods-high-in-sodium.html
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Just remembered something. Whey has an incredibly high salt content, even when no salt was added. I found that out while trying to find uses for the whey I drained when making greek yogurt.

If the whey is cooked down, it becomes an incredibly salty cheese. That makes it easy to store and use. Just shave some off when you need to add salt to something.
 
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