The world of salt in numbers

About 250 million years ago

the raw material for Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz was formed when the primeval ocean evaporated. That makes it older than the dinosaurs.

Approx. 9,351 km (beeline)

is the distance traveled by Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz when it is exported (by ship) from Bad Reichenhall to Tokyo.

4 cm

is the height of the popular Bad Reichenhaller mini-shaker. The perfect travel companion contains 10 g of salt “to go.”

500 g of AlpenSalz

are the contents of the classic salt package for the household introduced by Bad Reichenhaller in 1950. Bad Reichenhaller also pioneered the well-known 500 g shaker.

100% veggie

All Bad Reichenhaller products are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.

86.5%

is the supported brand awareness of Bad Reichenhaller. Source: GFK

Approx. 10,000 products

require salt for their manufacture. The valuable raw material thus plays an essential role not only in nutrition, but also in industry – from baking powder to aluminum, glass, and plastic.

About 300 grams

of Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz can be dissolved in a liter of water. The solution is then fully saturated and cannot absorb any more salt.

About 0.9%

is the salt concentration of the blood and the fluids of the human body. That means that 9 grams of salt are dissolved in a liter of blood. Compared to this, the sea has a salt content of 35 g per liter.

 

440 level teaspoons of salt

are what an adult needs on average every year. This corresponds to the daily consumption recommended by the DGE of 6 g of salt.

Approx. 2000 BC

Celtic salters lived in the Bad Reichenhall region as archaeological finds have shown. It has thus been known for ages that the area is rich in “Hall.” “Hall” is the West Germanic word for salt.

 

0.2 to 0.63 mm

is the size of most grains of salt (over 70%) in a package of Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz. A small grain of salt weighs approx. 0.05 mg, a large grain approx. 0.7 mg

Up to 150 °

is the temperature at which evaporation crystallization is performed in order to obtain evaporated salt from brine.

 

Ranked number 4

Germany is ranked number 4 in global salt production – after China, the US and India. (Status 2016)

Around 150 to 180 liters

of fluid are filtered by the kidneys every day. They are the most important organs in the human body for regulating the salt and water balance. That means that 1,350 to 1,620 g of salt also flow through the kidneys every day.

 

900,000 m3

is the amount of brine extracted at the Berchtesgaden salt mine annually.

29 km in length

and considerable differences in height were conquered by the brine pipeline built in 1817 from Berchtesgaden to Bad Reichenhall with the help of the unique water column lifting machines. At Ilsank, the brine was pumped 365 meters up the mountain.

 

12 °C

12 °C is the temperature below ground at the Berchtesgaden salt mine.

 

0.4 grams

is the weight of a pinch of salt, even if most people measure it by feeling. The following units are also used often in cookbooks: a knife point (0.25 g of salt), a level teaspoon (5 g of salt), and a level tablespoon (15 g of salt).

400 packets of salt

400 packets of salt per minute can be filled by modern filling machines.

 

Up to 1 km thick

was the salt layer that formed about 250 million years ago when an inland sea separated from the primeval ocean by a headland evaporated.

 

Approx. 3%

of the sodium chloride consumed in Germany is used as table salt, while the overwhelming majority is used as industrial salt.

General salt knowledge

1. What is salt actually?

When we’re talking about salt, we usually mean table salt. In nature, salt occurs in two forms: dissolved in water (as brine or seawater) or in solid form (as rock salt).

But what is salt actually? It is a mineral that consists of the elements sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) and is designated chemically as sodium chloride (NaCl). In a solid state, sodium and chlorine combine on the molecular level in a cube shape at a ratio of 1:1. Since the chlorine atoms are larger and heavier, the resulting weight distribution is 40% sodium and 60% chlorine.

Everyone has noticed that salt dissolves in water – the crystalline structure disintegrates. And what else happens? Electrically charged particles (ions) are formed. The sodium ions carry the positive charge, the chlorine ions the negative charge. The positive and negative charges cancel each other, resulting in an electrically neutral solution.

 

2. How did salt get into the Alps?

Salt is so taken for granted in the home today that we rarely consider the fact that the salt we use for seasoning was formed when the primeval ocean evaporated. About 250 million years ago, separated water basins were formed at the edge of the primeval ocean. When the water evaporated, salts crystallized and were deposited at the base of these basins.

This resulted in salt domes, which, in the course of many thousands of years, were buried deep under the rocks and covered by the earth as a result of tectonic movements and the folding of the Alps. There, in the depths of the Alps, the salt has remained preserved in its pure, original form.

 

3. What is alpine brine?

Very slowly, clear mountain water releases the salt from the rock, forming pure alpine brine – the natural source of all Bad Reichenhaller products.

4. How does alpine brine become Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz?

The alpine brine is collected in hollow spaces and subterranean lakes. The Celts already mined salt from these brine springs. Today, the subterranean brine stores are accessed by means of deep holes and are pumped through pipelines into the Bad Reichenhall salt works – about 250,000 m³ annually.

At the Bad Reichenhall salt works, the alpine brine is first diverted into a huge container, freed of other salts, and brought to a boil in the evaporation plant. The water evaporates, and the salt crystallizes. An energy-saving method is used for this process. The salt mush (a mixture of salt and brine) is centrifuged and then dried. The result: pure AlpenSalz.

 

5. Since when have humans been using salt?

Salt is one of the oldest foodstuffs in human history. Archaeological findings have proven that is has been used regularly since about 10,000 BC. Wherever humans found salt and water, they could establish new settlements.

The history of salt production can be traced back to the dawn of human history. But how did humans first make salt? Probably from seawater – by natural evaporation. The first sophisticated methods of salt production were discovered to have been used by the Romans and Celts: among other things, they used the natural brine springs in the Alps.

Humans also discovered early on that salt not only gives food a special flavor, but also has preservative properties. For this reason, “white gold” became an important trade product transported over long distances. Trade needs trade routes – then and now. During Roman times, “salt roads” were created, including the Via Salaria, one of the oldest streets in Italy. In the Middle Ages, such transport routes were also constructed in Germany: for example, the Bavarian salt road stretching from Reichenhall, passing through Munich and Landsberg am Lech, and ending in Lake Constance.

Salt production grew steadily – in the 16th century, up to 36,000 tons of salt were produced annually in Hallein (Austria) and Reichenhall. Trade was professionalized, and specified trade routes had to be strictly observed. After all, salt taxes, road duties, and trade rights – so-called “staple rights” – brought in more revenue for cities and sovereigns than the salt itself.

 

6. Where does the word “salt” come from?

The word “salt,” like the German term “Salz,” was formed from the Latin word “salarium.” This word itself originated from “Salus,” the name of the Roman god of wisdom, who was responsible for general growth and prosperity. Roman civil servants and soldiers received a ration of salt for their journeys, called “salarium.” The connection of this with the word “salary” is obvious – even if payment with salt is now a distant memory.

7. How many different kinds of salt are there?

Have you ever asked yourself what the difference is between common salt, table salt, and cooking salt? The answer is simple: none at all. They are simply different terms.

However, we do distinguish between three different types of salt in the table salt category: evaporated salt (obtained from brine), rock salt (mined), and sea salt (obtained from seawater). Al three have the same composition of sodium and chlorine.

 

8. Why does salt get lumpy?

Salt is hygroscopic. That means that ,when stored for long periods of time in a humid environment, salt draws water from the air and forms lumps – for example, when steam gets into the open package when adding salt to pasta water. Perhaps you’ve also experienced this on vacation when the air was generally more humid.

Lumpy salt can be crumbled again with a fork or mortar and continue to be used without hesitation for cooking and seasoning. The clumps dissolve completely when cooking.

 

9. What is the function of anti-caking agents in salt?

As described above, salt without an anti-caking agent tends to form lumps (caking). Anti-caking agents ensure that it always stays dry and easy to sprinkle.

10. Does Bad Reichenhaller also offer products without anti-caking agents?

Yes. The finer the salt, the greater is the risk that it will harden or lump. Anti-caking agents are not necessary for coarse salt: Bad Reichenhaller Grobes AlpenSalz, all mills, and all Alpensaline products contain no anti-caking agents.

11. Why is salt with folic acid yellow?

Bad Reichenhaller AlpenJodSalz + Fluorid + Folsäure has a slightly yellow hue. This is the visual proof of high product quality, as folic acid is yellow in its natural form. The color has no effect on taste and use.

12. Why are tears salty?

As everyone knows from personal experience: tears taste salty. In fact, there wouldn’t even be any tear fluid without salt. But why? Tear fluid originates in the lacrimal glands, which are located above the eye. To generate fluid, they need water from the surrounding tissue, and to extract water from the tissue, they need salt – this is why the lacrimal glands secrete salt. Not pure table salt, but a mixture of different electrolytes including potassium.

Many may still remember this from biology class: osmosis means that liquid always moves to where the salt concentration is higher. This also happens in the lacrimal gland. It secretes mineral salts in order to attract fluid from the surrounding tissue and to secrete it again as tear fluid. This is comparable to a sliced tomato, which loses water when it is salted.

 

13. How long will salt still exist?

Luckily, salt is one of the few raw materials on our earth that will always be available in sufficient quantities in the future. The underground salt deposits alone will last a very long time. If you consider that the amount of salt dissolved in the sea is many times greater than that of rock salt and brine, you can truly say that humanity’s salt supply will never be exhausted.

14. What importance does salt have in food?

Usually, we think of the salty taste first – the magic “salt in the soup,” as a German saying goes. Even if the salt cannot be tasted separately from the food or is used as a targeted supplement as with the popular breakfast egg, it is always an intensifying flavor carrier. Both in tart dishes and in a variety of desserts. Yet it is also important for technological reasons: for the production of meat and sausage products, bread and cheese, and preserved vegetable products. The preserving effect of salt, known already in ancient Egypt, is still of huge importance today. Salt is also a vital mineral for the human body. About 90% of essential sodium chloride is supplied to the body by table salt.

15. What importance does salt have in Industry?

Salt plays an important role not only in nutrition, but also in industry and the household. Be it in the steel industry, in dyeworks, in the manufacture of soap and glass, or as a regenerating salt for the dishwasher – without salt, our lives would be different in many ways. And don’t forget de-icing salt, which keeps roads safe in the winter.

Salt and health

1. Why does our body need salt?

The cells of the human body and body fluid are largely composed of water and salt. Sodium chloride is a vital mineral for our body. Salt regulates blood pressure, the fluid balance of the cells, and is the foundation of a functioning metabolism. The salt balance and water balance of the body are closely related. The ratio of the two substances water and salt is coordinated and is controlled by the sense of thirst and elimination through the kidneys. This ensures that the balance remains constant independently of the salt intake. If the ratio is not balanced, body functions could be impaired.

Salt also regulates the tension of tissues and is the foundation for muscle excitability and for stimulus conduction in the nerve pathways. Salt is an important component of our blood, plays an essential role in the formation of bones, and is a component of the digestive juices. There is an especially high chloride content in the cells of the gastric mucosa, in which hydrochloric acid is formed to be used for digestion.

Depending on its weight and size, an adult body contains about 150 to 300 g of salt, while that of a newborn contains approx. 14 g. 9 g of table salt is dissolved in a liter of human blood, so the salt content of blood and other body fluids is 0.9%.

 

2. How much salt does a person need?

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (German Association for Nutrition) recommends an intake of six grams a day. That is about one teaspoon of salt. This amount ensures regulated functioning of the human organism. Part of this is already ingested with other foods, so it is enough to add two to three grams of salt every day. With a balanced diet, about three fourths are ingested with food that already contains salt – sausage, bread, and cheese for example. One fourth is covered by table salt used for cooking and seasoning. We also take in salt when we drink. A healthy body eliminates any excess salt.

3. Which groups of people should pay special attention to their salt balance?

A balanced diet is especially important during pregnancy. This includes an adequate supply of minerals, including salt.

In older people, the water and nutrient balance can be severely disrupted by lack of salt. An adequate salt supply is important for physical and mental fitness.

Professional athletes should also pay attention to their salt balance. The heavy exchange of fluids (sweating and drinking) can lower the salt content of the blood, which can result in seizures. This is why sports physicians recommend isotonic drinks, i.e. drinks with many salts and minerals.

 

4. Why do we need iodine and how much?

Iodine is a vital trace element that the human body cannot produce itself. It must be ingested with food.

Iodine is an essential component in the production of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodthyronine (T4), or thyroxine. These hormones contribute to controlling the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and regulating body temperature and heart frequency. They are thus necessary, among other things, for normal growth and the development of the brain.

If we do not supply our body with enough iodine, the thyroid tries to compensate for this deficiency with an enlargement of the thyroid gland. If this enlargement exceeds a certain size, it is called a “goiter,” which can have serious health repercussions. Some symptoms can indicate iodine deficiency much earlier: lack of concentration, listlessness, constant fatigue, depressive moods as well as dry, flaky skin, digestive disorders, and a weak immune system.

Major parts of the population still are not adequately supplied with iodine. Especially for children, young people, and women during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period, an adequate supply of iodine must be ensured. Even those who have a fresh and varied diet and eat saltwater fish such as shellfish or cod several times a week are only covering a maximum of 2/3 of the recommended intake of iodine. With iodized table salt, the supply of iodine is clearly improved.

According to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (German Association for Nutrition, DGE), the daily requirement of iodine is 180–200 µg (= 0.18–0.2 mg). Various requirements are specified for different ages:

Children (10–13 years): 180 µg of iodine/day
Adolescents and adults (13–51 years): 200 µg of iodine/day
Adults (51 and older): 180 µg of iodine/day
Pregnant women: 230 µg of iodine/day
Breastfeeding women: 260 µg of iodine/day

5 g of iodine a day is an adequate supplement for a healthy diet, since this amount can cover the daily iodine deficiency.  

 

5. Does Bad Reichenhaller also offer products without iodine?

Yes. Bad Reichenhaller AlpenSalz in the blue 500 g box or 500 g shaker contains no added iodine. The same applies for the mills and Alpensaline products.

6. Why do we need fluoride and how much?

Fluoride is a trace element that the body cannot produce itself. Like iodine, it must be ingested with food. Fluoride protects us against acids that are formed by caries bacteria, which in turn attack the teeth. It also contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralization.

In Germany, drinking water contains less than 0.25 mg of fluoride per liter in 90% of regions. That is much too little to cover the daily requirement. It is just as difficult to ingest a sufficient quantity with food, since only a few foods, such as saltwater fish, black tea, nuts, seafood, and soy products are rich in fluoride.

The consistent use of table salt fortified with fluoride can help prevent the formation of new caries.

According to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (German Association for Nutrition, DGE), the average fluoride requirement of an adult is 3.1 to 3.8 mg a day. Pregnant woman or women who are breastfeeding, infants, children, and people with an increased risk of caries should pay special attention to their intake of fluoride.

The daily fluoride requirement mainly depends on age and sex. Here are a few examples*:

Infants (0–4 months): 0.25 mg of fluoride/day
Infants (4–12 months): 0.5 mg of fluoride/day  
Small children: 0.7–1.1 mg of fluoride/day
Schoolchildren: 1.1–2 mg of fluoride/day
Adolescents (male): 3.2 mg of fluoride/day
Adolescents (female): 2.9 mg of fluoride/day
Adult males: 3.8 mg of fluoride/day
Adult females: 3.1 mg of fluoride/day
Pregnant/breastfeeding: 3.1 mg of fluoride/day

*Source: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (DGE)

 

7. Why do we need folic acid and how much?

Folic acid is a water-soluble B-vitamin and is referred to as folate in its natural form in foods. Folic acid has many important functions in the body. Above all, it is responsible for cell division. This includes, for example, the formation of red and white blood cells and the formation of mucous membranes.

Folic acid exists as folate mostly in salads, vegetables, and legumes. Beans, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, peas, kale, lentils, and soybeans have a high concentration of folate. However, liver also contains a large amount of folic acid.* Folate is very sensitive to storage conditions, light, and heat. For this reason, supplying it with food alone is generally not sufficient. On average, about one third of the B-vitamin is lost due to storage and food preparation.

As opposed to naturally occurring folate, the folic acid used in Bad Reichenhaller AlpenJodSalz is storage-, light-, and heat-stable (when cooking or baking), so it can make an important contribution to supplying our body with folic acid.

The recommended daily amount of folic acid – according to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (German Association for Nutrition, DGE) – is 150 µg of folic acid or 300 µg of a folate equivalent for all age groups from 10 years (1 µg of folate equivalent = 1 µg dietary folate = 0.5 µg of synthetic folic acid). Recent studies have revealed that the folic acid supply is under the reference value in large parts of the population.

With a sustained folic acid shortage, early deficiency symptoms can emerge, including fatigue, lack of appetite, and irritability.

In the case of pregnant women, folic acid contributes to the healthy development of mother and child. According to the DGE, pregnant women need 600 µg of folate equivalent per day. For this reason, women who wish to conceive are recommended to ensure a sufficient intake of folic acid before and after conception.

* Source: (Souci/Fachmann/Kraut, Food composition and nutrition tables, 6th revised and enlarged edition, Stuttgart 2000)

 

Salty tips & tricks

1. How do you salt broths and stews?

There are two options: should the flavor stay in the vegetables or meat, or should the flavor primarily be in the fluid? If you want to have a tasty piece of meat, you should simmer it in a salty broth – the taste of the meat will be enhanced by the aromas of the vegetables. If you would like a powerful broth, then you should wait till the end to salt it so that as much aroma from the meat and vegetables passes over to the broth as possible.

2. How do you salt roast pork?

Your roast pork will be especially crispy if you coat the crust with salt water five to ten minutes before the end of cooking or spray it with Bad Reichenhaller SprühSalz and roast briefly at high temperature. The salt draws the moisture out of the skin, making the crust wonderfully crispy.

3. How do you salt dried legumes?

Dried lentils, peas, beans, and other legumes should never be applied with salt or other ingredients containing salt. They will stay hard and will taste partly bland. It is best to soak them first in clear water and salt them after cooking.

4. How do you salt salads?

Salad that sits in the dressing for too long becomes soggy. Everyone has experienced this at some point – when the summer garden party lasts into the evening. The salad collapses because the salt absorbs the water from the leaves. This is why fresh, green lettuce should only be salted or dressing added just before serving so that is stays crispy as long as possible. Or you can simply round it off with a touch of Bad Reichenhaller Sprühsalz before eating.

5. Why is salt added to desserts?

Salty and sweet – is that a good combination? Not at first glance. Most dessert recipes say nothing about salt. However, many chefs and confectioners add a pinch of salt anyway because it intensifies the taste. Just give it a try... But please add it sparingly!

6. How do you save an oversalted soup or broth?

First the soup was too bland, now it is suddenly oversalted? No problem. Depending on the amount of salt, simply add a couple peeled and cubed potatoes to the broth and bring it to a boil again – the potatoes will absorb the salt.

7. How do you save oversalted noodles?

If noodles have been cooked in oversalted water, it helps to rinse them vigorously with hot water. If the noodles are cooked, pour them in a colander, rinse them with clear, hot water, and carefully shake them in the colander. This method can also be used for oversalted rice.

8. How do I make fries crispy?

Fries from the oven becomes especially crispy if they are coated with salt water before baking or – which is even faster – simply sprayed with Bad Reichenhaller SprühSalz.

9. How long can salt be stored?

Pure salt can be stored indefinitely. Only additives such as iodine can break down after long periods of storage. This is why a best before date is required for iodized table salt according to food law – under certain conditions, the iodine content may not match the amount declared on the packaging.

Bad Reichenhaller AlpenJodSalz is still completely fit for consumption even after the best before date expires, and there is no health risk. However, people who are recommended to consume food containing iodine due to hyperthyroidism are advised to use AlpenJodSalz with a valid best before date.

10. What is the best way to store salt?

Salt should never be stored in metal containers. In conjunction with humidity, salt can even attack precious metals and cause them to corrode. Glass or ceramic containers are ideally suitable for storing salt.

Since salt absorbs moisture from the air, it can get lumpy. This means that opened salt packages should not be kept near the stove or steaming pots, but rather in a closed cupboard or in an air-tight container.

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