Salting (food)

Sea salt being added to raw ham to make prosciutto
Bag of Prague powder #1, also known as "curing salt" or "pink salt." It is typically a combination of salt and sodium nitrite, with the pink color added to distinguish it from ordinary salt.

Preservation of food with dry edible salt.

- Salting (food)

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Salted fish

Fish cured with dry salt and thus preserved for later eating.

Reconstruction of the Roman fish-salting plant at Neapolis
Various salted fish sold in a marketplace in a suburb of Jakarta, Indonesia
Platforms, called fish flakes, where cod dry in the sun before being packed in salt
Remains of Roman fish-salting plant at Neapolis
Drying salted fish at Malpe Harbour
Salt fish dip at Jakarta
Ruins of the Port Eynon Salt House – seawater was boiled to extract salt for preserving fish
Egyptians bringing in fish and splitting them for salting
Salted dried butterfishes in Chinese Food Store at Yuen Long, Hong Kong
Fish in a salt crust
Fish cellars at Church Cove, England, used for pressing salted pilchards into barrels for storage and export to the continent
Salt cabin, a small building where fish is salted, in Koserow, Germany
Dried Fish in a market of Odisha

Drying or salting, either with dry salt or with brine, was the only widely available method of preserving fish until the 19th century.

Salt-cured meat

Meat or fish preserved or cured with salt.

A bagel containing salt beef (corned beef) and mustard
Salted dried fish sold on a Hong Kong street

Salting, either with dry salt or brine, was a common method of preserving meat until the middle of the 20th century, becoming less popular after the advent of refrigeration.

Curing (food preservation)

Any of various food preservation and flavoring processes of foods such as meat, fish and vegetables, by the addition of salt, with the aim of drawing moisture out of the food by the process of osmosis.

Sea salt being added to raw ham to make prosciutto
Slices of beef in a can
Curing salt, also known as "Prague powder" or "pink salt", is typically a combination of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite that is dyed pink to distinguish it from table salt.
Young man preparing a pig's head after a sacrifice. Vase v. 360–340 BC, National Archaeological Museum of Spain.
Barrels of salt beef and other products in a reconstruction of an American Civil War stockpile, at Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina

Several sources describe the salting of meat in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Food preservation

Food preservation includes food processing practices which prevent the growth of microorganisms, such as yeasts (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria or fungi to the food), and slow the oxidation of fats that cause rancidity.

A food scientist is preparing a meal for astronauts in space
Preserved food
Bag of Prague powder#1, also known as "curing salt" or "pink salt". It is typically a combination of salt and sodium nitrite, with the pink color added to distinguish it from ordinary salt.
3D stick model of nisin. Some lactic acid bacteria manufacture nisin. It is a particularly effective preservative.

The earliest form of curing was dehydration or drying, used as early as 12,000 BC. Smoking and salting techniques improve on the drying process and add antimicrobial agents that aid in preservation.


Mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in the form of a natural crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite.

Salt deposits beside the Dead Sea
Halite (rock salt) from the Wieliczka salt mine, Małopolskie, Poland
Bolivian rose salt from Andes
Loading sea salt at an evaporation pond in Walvis Bay, Namibia; halophile organisms give it a red colour
Salt production in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt (1670)
Ponds near Maras, Peru, fed from a mineral spring and used for salt production since pre-Inca times.
SEM image of a grain of table salt
Comparison of table salt with kitchen salt. Shows a typical salt shaker and salt bowl with salt spread before each on a black background.
Irregular crystals of sea salt
Himalayan salt is halite with a distinct pink color
Two men with stacks of rock salt in Bamyan, Afghanistan
Sea salt evaporation pond at Walvis Bay. Halophile organisms impart a red colour
Bread and salt at a Russian wedding ceremony

Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food preservation.

Food and drink prohibitions

Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions.

"Use of eggs, meet & vine [meat and wine] is strictly prohibited here." Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. 1993
A bag of frog legs from Vietnam.
Dromedary camel
Blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, for sale at a market in Piraeus.
Dog meat advertised as a "Guizhou specialty" in Hubei, People's Republic of China.
Elephant meat that was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
Roast guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) in Peru
Smoked and salted horse meat on a sandwich.
Raw oysters, which are still alive, presented on a plate.
Ikizukuri, live fish served as sashimi.
A gorilla in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2008
Heads, brains, trotters and tripe on sale in an Istanbul market.
Kale Pache, a traditional soup made with lamb's head (including brain, eyes and tongues) and hooves in Iran.
Cottontail rabbit
A bowl of dinuguan, a Filipino stew with pork blood

In Judaism all mammal and bird meat (not fish) is salted to remove the blood.

Passenger pigeon

Extinct species of pigeon that was endemic to North America.

Earliest published illustration of the species (a male), Mark Catesby, 1731
Mounted male passenger pigeon, Field Museum of Natural History
Band-tailed pigeon, a species in the related genus Patagioenas
The physically similar mourning dove is not closely related.
Skeleton of a male bird, 1914
Musical notes documenting male vocalizations, compiled by Wallace Craig, 1911
Specimen in flying pose, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Live male in Whitman's aviary, 1896/98
Illustration of migrating flocks, Frank Bond, 1920
Juvenile (left), male (center), female (right), Louis Agassiz Fuertes, 1910
Alert parent bird posing defiantly towards the camera
Acorns in South Carolina, among the diet of this bird
Internal organs of Martha, the last individual: cr. denotes the crop, gz. the gizzard, 1915
Nesting captive bird, wary of the photographer
Nest and egg in Whitman's aviary
Preserved egg, Muséum de Toulouse
Live nestling or squab
Immature bird; the young were vulnerable to predators after leaving the nest
Billing pair by John James Audubon, from The Birds of America, 1827–1838. This image has been criticized for its scientific inaccuracy.
Painting of a male, K. Hayashi, c. 1900
Depiction of a shooting in northern Louisiana, Smith Bennett, 1875
1881 spread showing methods of trapping pigeons for shooting contests
Pigeon net in Canada, by James Pattison Cockburn, 1829
Trapper Albert Cooper with blind decoy pigeons for luring wild birds, c. 1870
Male and female by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, frontispiece of William Butts Mershon's 1907 The Passenger Pigeon
Life drawing by Charles R. Knight, 1903
"Buttons", the second last confirmed wild passenger pigeon, Cincinnati Zoo
Whitman's aviary with passenger pigeons and other species, 1896/98
"The Folly of 1857 and the Lesson of 1912", frontispiece to William T. Hornaday's Our vanishing wild life (1913), showing Martha in life, the endling of the species.
Martha at the Smithsonian Museum, 2015
Pigeons being shot to save crops in Iowa, 1867
Taxidermized male and female, Laval University Library

Dead pigeons were commonly stored by salting or pickling the bodies; other times, only the breasts of the pigeons were kept, in which case they were typically smoked.

Outline of food preparation

Provided as an overview of and topical guide to food preparation:

Food preparation at the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington state
Cooking with charcoal on a barbecue grill
Roasting, medieval illuminated manuscript (Tacuina sanitatis casanatensis 14th century)
KitchenAid Stand Mixer in action
Seafood gumbo, an example of Cajun cuisine
Decorated bread loaves
Olive oil
A platter with cheese and garnishes
Japanese silken tofu (Kinugoshi Tofu)
Lamb cutlets
Eggplants, also called Aubergines.
Preserved food
Thai Kaeng phet pet yang: roast duck in red curry



Any form of sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including fish and shellfish.

Seafood includes any form of food taken from the sea.
Various foods depicted in an Egyptian burial chamber, including fish, c. 1400 BCE.
The US FDA recommends moderate consumption of fish as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Barracuda found in Florida are avoided due to a high risk of ciguatera. The same fish found in Belize presents a lesser risk due to the lower prevalence of ciguatera-causing dinoflagellates in the Caribbean. Thus, knowing a fish's origin and life history is essential to determining its health hazards.
Organic and inorganic compounds including methylmercury, microplastics, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can bioaccumulate to dangerous levels in apex predators like swordfish and marlin.
Escolar is sometimes difficult to distinguish from tuna when cooked. Unlike tuna, escolar is associated with keriorrhea and severe cramping following consumption. In many restaurants, most fish labeled as tuna, white tuna, or albacore is mislabeled escolar.

The oldest and still most widely used techniques are drying and salting.


Seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food.

"The Mullus" harvesting pepper. Illustration from a French edition of The Travels of Marco Polo.
Chili powder, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, cumin seeds
A plate of Indian herbs and spices.
A shelf of common spices for a home kitchen in Canada or the United States
Pepper mill
Spices and herbs at a shop in Goa, India
The Gato Negro café and spice shop (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
A spice shop selling a variety of spices in Iran
Night spice shop in Casablanca, Morocco.
A spice shop in Taliparamba, India
Spices sold in Taliparamba, India
Spice seller, Kashgar market
Spice market, Marrakesh, Morocco
Spices of Saúde flea market, São Paulo, Brazil

In fact, spices are rather ineffective as preservatives as compared to salting, smoking, pickling, or drying, and are ineffective in covering the taste of spoiled meat.