How do I choose the best salt for canning and pickling?

Pickled cucumbers growing on the vine.

When food prices soar, budget minded people often rediscover traditional methods of preserving food, such as canning and preserving. These methods allow home cooks to purchase seasonal produce and preserve it for later use. Since preserving food at home often requires salt for canning and pickling, it is important to know how to choose between products. You can choose the best salt for canning and pickling by looking for large-sized crystals, not paying too much attention to salt names, and knowing if your recipe would benefit from sea salt.

Salt for canning and pickling.

Quality preserves in pickling salt have a large crystal size. Traditionally, pickling and pickling salt was used to extract the juice from the meat, preserving it for later use. Large crystals were an advantage because large crystals would cling to me more easily than small crystals. Even if you’re not preserving meat, add large crystal salt. Canning and pickling recipes are formulated to use large crystal salt and will come out too salty if you use small crystal salt.


When buying canning and canning salt, don’t worry too much about the name of the salt. There are few or no legal standards governing salt labeling. Canning or pickling salt may be labeled as kosher salt, pickling salt, canning salt, or koshering salt. As long as the salt has large crystals, it will work for pickling and general canning.

However, not all types of large crystal salt are exactly alike. The best salt for you depends on the recipe you are using. Sea salt, as the name implies, is harvested from coasts all over the world. Because it comes from the evaporation of sea water, sea salt contains more minerals than other types of large crystal salt. If you’re working with delicate products like cucumbers or fruit, you may find that sea salt has more character. For strong-tasting recipes, it may be better to use a cheaper kosher salt, as the more subtle nuances will be lost in this type of recipe.

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