Salt flavors our foods, but salt is way more interesting than just a seasoning that you sprinkle on your french fries! Let’s learn a few fun facts about salt, a very special crystal.
The history of salt goes back to 4000 BC where it was used in Egypt to preserve mummies. It was a valuable good and was traded between the Phoenicians and their Mediterranean empire.
The word salary comes from the Latin “sal” which means salt. In Roman times, salt was such a valuable commodity that army soldiers were sometimes paid with salt instead of money! It was valuable because it was hard to get in most places. Making and transporting salt to sell gave rise to new cities and to the construction of roads.
Salt is also used to preserve foods from spoiling. This works because many bacteria cannot live in salt. Being able to preserve food helped populations to grow, cities to develop, and even soldiers in wars to be fed.
There are two main ways to get table salt:
- From the sea, using evaporation ponds.
- From rock, in mountains or underground in salt mines.
Our body needs a small amount of salt to function properly. It is important in the operation of all signals within our cells, and the signals that travel to and from the brain. Too much salt though can affect our blood pressure, so we shouldn’t eat too many salty snacks!
Salt is also used on roadways to prevent ice from forming on it during winter storms. Salt lowers the temperature needed for liquid to freeze, so it can melt ice.
Salt is used to make ice cream! Because cream freezes at a temperature that is below the melting point of ice, we have to help the ice melt at a lower temperature. By adding salt to ice, it lowers its melting point and allows the cream to freeze.
The largest salt mine in the world is located 1,800 feet under Lake Huron in North America and has been operated since 1959.
In Poland, there is an ancient salt mine called the Wieliczka Salt Mine that has fully carved chapels and chandeliers, all made from salt!
As you can tell, salt is a very interesting and valuable crystal, with a long history! You can share these fun facts about salt with your family and friends.