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What is pickling salt?

Updated February 21, 2017

Pickling food is a long tradition. Originally, food was pickled to help preserve it. Now, foods are pickled mostly for their taste. Pickling salt is one of the primary ingredients in any pickling brine. It is the substance that gives the taste and preservative power to the pickled food.

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What is Pickling Salt?

Pickling salt is a fine grained salt made almost entirely of sodium chloride.

How is it Different from Table Salt?

Pickling salt is made without various additives such as iodine and anti-caking products that are typically found in table salt. These additives can cause pickled foods to appear unappetizing.

What is it Used For?

The obvious use for pickling salt would be pickling. Any substance that is pickled will typically use pickling salt. Pickles, pickled bologna and pickled eggs are all high in pickling salt. However, pickling salt can also be used in the same way as table salt. The unfortunate side effect of the purity of pickling salt is that it lacks the anti-caking chemicals that help prevent table salt from caking and becoming difficult to distribute.

Why is Purity Important in Pickling Salt?

Iodised salt will darken pickled foods. The anti-caking agents in table salt also turn the pickling brine cloudy and unsightly. This isn’t a health problem; table salt or any other iodised salt can be used to pickle and the results will be the same. However, most people don’t enjoy eating dark pickled foods and the cloudy brine may be unappetizing.

Where Can you Find It?

In rural areas, pickling salt is very common in grocery stores. In urban areas, however, it can be more difficult to find. If you live in an urban area and can't fine pickling salt, kosher salt can be substituted, though you may need to use slightly more to get similar results.

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About the Author

Eric Benac

Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

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