By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog
Using salt for preserving (curing) meat has been a big part of food preservation seemingly forever and the technique is still used today. Dry salting or using a salt brine would be one way to preserve meat while living in an environment without electricity.
Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms (including those on meat). It does this by drawing out water from the microbial cell (by osmosis) due to the high concentration of salt outside the cell. The cell loses water until it reaches a state where it cannot grow and then cannot survive any longer.
Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria.
Salted meat and fish are a staple of the diet in many parts of the world. Salted meat was also a staple of the mariner’s diet. Salt was stored in barrels, and often had to last for months spent out of sight of land.