Is salt a stone

Table salt - a mineral in the kitchen

A mineral or rock has become an indispensable part of our daily diet: Halite or rock salt, processed commercially and available as table salt.

Table of Contents

Definition of table salt

The term table salt is a odorless, salty-tasting and flavorful food that is intended for consumption.
Other names for common table salt are table salt and table salt. Table salt was specially processed for the purpose of food - cleaned and freed from foreign substances - and thus clearly distinguishes itself from other salts such as fertilizer salt or road salt.

A flavorful mineral

Table salt is an indispensable part of the daily diet.
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends that adults eat a lot of every day, depending on their body weight up to six grams of salt to record. In the course of a year, an adult person would consume over two kilograms of salt.

Table salt not only ensures that dishes taste more intense, but is also useful for numerous physiological processes in the human organism are important. The body's own salt is excreted every day through body fluids such as urine, tears or sweat, which must be replaced by ingested food.

In addition, table salt is also used for salting in the household. This method of preserving fresh food makes use of the fact that high salt contents prevent harmful microorganisms from surviving and multiplying.

Salt in stores

The salts offered in the trade differ in both Type of extraction as well as the degree of grain and added aromas.
Stand next to the consumer Rock salt and vacuum salt also sea salt to disposal.
Also belongs to the rock salts Himalayan salt. Apart from the geographical name, the salt has little to do with the mountains, insofar as the salt is mined in Polish and Pakistani mines (note: Pakistan borders the Himalaya Mountains in the north, but the salt mining areas are located in the south and south-east of Pakistan outside of the High mountains). The salt, advertised as primordial salt, is supposed to release vitality and positive energetic forces due to its special composition. Chemical studies, however, show that the crystal salt from the Himalayas, like any other table salt, consists of sodium chloride and contains tiny amounts of iron oxides.
Furthermore, salts are classified according to the size of the grain in

  • gross
  • medium coarse
  • fine
  • fine salt

differentiated. The latter is also called butter salt, due to its use in salted butter, the spreadability of which would be disturbed by larger salt crystals. The grain size of the salt crystals has no influence on the taste.
There are also table salts to buy, which have been refined with various flavors. While herbal salts mainly use lavender, thyme or oregano, for flower salts it is roses, mallow, orange blossom or cornflowers that are used as flavoring agents.

Since salt is not naturally present everywhere on earth or not in sufficient quantities, trade routes were established in the earliest Middle Ages, which were specifically named salt roads after the commodity salt. The most famous routes ran from the salt towns of Central Germany (e.g. Mansfelder Revier / Saxony-Anhalt) and Bad Langensalza / Thuringia) and Bavaria, mainly in the direction of Scandinavia and the Czech Republic. Salt roads have also come down to us from France and Italy.

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Salt roads - then and now

Even today, some countries are still dependent on imports of salt, for example Norway, Sweden and Finland, Japan and New Zealand. The most important export countries of salt at the moment are China, the USA, Germany, England, Spain and Italy.

The fact that mining and extraction as well as trade shaped the founding of cities in some places can be seen from the names of some places. Syllables like sal or hal, further also sulz, sulza or brawn indicate a salty past. Etymologically, those syllables are of Latin and Greek origin and are translated as salt. Famous salt cities are e.g. Hallein, Halle, Salzburg, Bad Reichenhall, Bad Salzungen, Bad Langensalza, Schwäbisch Hall, Salzgitter, Salzhemmendorf or Bad Salzuflen. Few rivers also have the salty story in their name: Saale, Sale, Salzach or Salze.

Formation of table salt

From a chemical point of view, salt is Sodium chloride (NaCl), which occurs naturally as the mineral halite or as rock rock salt, whereby the rock rock salt is composed of the mineral halite (see Fig. 1).

Both halite and rock salt are evaporation products - they result from the evaporation of salty solutions. Today's rock salt deposits, which are mined underground, were created around 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic through evaporation of former waters.
Overlaying sediments from the following geological systems also solidified the salt layers and prevented them from being eroded or from the salt masses going back into solution as a result of precipitation.

Mineable salt is created permanently. The reason for this are the salts dissolved in the seawater, which on average cause a 3.5% salt concentration (salinity). In other words: 35 g of salt are dissolved in one kilogram of sea water. In order to obtain one kilogram of salt, a volume of water of 60 kg would have to be evaporated. The salt content of 3.5% in the world's oceans has been largely constant for the last three to four million years. In addition to sodium chloride (NaCl), sea salt and rock salt contain other salts such as potassium and magnesium chloride, calcium and magnesium sulfate, deposits of clay and iron compounds, gypsum, anhydrite and sylvine as well as bitumen. It is these compounds, but also radioactive radiation such as the so-called blue tsar salt, that give colorless crystal salt a bright color.

Not only the world's oceans have high salt contents; Inland seas and lakes can also be very salty. The most famous example of a salt lake is the Dead Sea. Surrounded by Israel, West Bank and Jordan, the lake is 422 m below sea level and has a salt content of 28%. The salt content of Lake Elton (16 m below sea level) northeast of Volgograd in Russia is also 28%. The ranking of the saltyest lakes in the world is followed by the Great Salt Lake (1280 m above sea level) in Utah / USA with 27%.
In comparison, the salt concentration in the Red Sea - surrounded by Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Yemen - is given as 4.2%. The Caspian Sea (28 m below sea level), which is close to Lake Elton, with the neighboring countries of Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia, has a salt concentration of 1.1 to 1.3%. Despite the connection of the Baltic Sea to the North Sea and thus the salty Atlantic Ocean, the inland sea is characterized by a salinity of 0.3 to 1.7%.

Extraction of table salt

The oldest records of salt deposits go back to the Greek historian Herodotus (around 490 to 424 BC). In his work "Histories - Book 2: The Land of Egypt and Its History" Herodotus describes large salt deposits near the Temple of Ammont in the Egyptian oasis of Siwa. At this point the salt can be found above ground, only covered by a thin layer of sand.
Also the Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (58 to 120 AD) reported on the extraction of salt from brines. The statements that salt can be obtained as residue by evaporation from saline springs are part of descriptions of the wars over salt springs, noted in the document "Unrest in Germania" from Tacitus.
Precise details of the salt production, which are still practiced today, are mentioned Pliny the Elder (AD 25 to 79) in "Historia Naturalis". Is led by Pliny the Elder. the extraction of salt in mines, the extraction from natural salt sources (brines) and from sea or sea water.

But salt was extracted long before the records mentioned. While salt was still extracted from evaporated solutions in the Neolithic Age, the first rock salt mines were built in the Alps in the Bronze Age. In the search for white gold, it was discovered that salty spring waters are fed by underground deposits - still known today as Borlach's rule. The principle established in 1727 by the electoral Bergrat in Saxony Johann Gottfried Borlach (1687 to 1786) states that there are rock salt deposits in the subsurface of brine springs.

With technical progress, the possibilities of extracting salt have since expanded and expanded. In the course of this, the profession of salinist came into being.

Nowadays will Rock salt in mines won with explosives and drilling rigs. For this purpose, accessible production shafts are blasted into the salt dome so that large vehicles and equipment can be driven on.

The method of Extraction from brine, also called evaporated salt, is based on the water solubility of halite or rock salt. First, holes are drilled in the salty subsoil and filled with water. The salt goes into solution and is pumped to the surface of the earth. The salt solution is then graded (concentrated), purified and boiled.

There is also extraction from seawater. The resulting sea salt is in special salt marshes won. For this purpose, artificial pond systems are created in the open air. The method of salt extraction, which is mainly used in southern European countries, is based on evaporation through solar radiation. As a result of the evaporation of the sea water, the ions dissolved in the water grow into salt crystals. Later the salt is skimmed off. Fleur de sel - the salt flower - is also harvested in salt farms. In contrast to sea salt, the salt is removed by hand at an earlier point in time, namely when a very fine layer of salt has formed on the surface of the water.

Just like rock and evaporated salt is also sea-salt not always chemically pure. Additions of other evaporation minerals such as gypsum or anhydrite, nitrates, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese cause a bitter taste. Cleaning separates these substances from the sodium chloride.

Every year, a salt volume of 257 million t is mined worldwide. The main producing countries are China and the USA. In Germany, between 12.5 and 20 million tons of salt are extracted each year, of which only a small proportion is used for table salt production.

See also:
⇒ Zeolites - minerals used against radioactivity
⇒ Edible stones
⇒ Thermal springs and thermal water

- www.dge

Last updated: December 30, 2019
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