I'm inquiring to learn a survival technique in the wilderness. How can I extract and crystallize salt (sodium chloride) from wild plants, animals, or rocks, with access to a freshwater source only. I imagine soaking smoked meat to make a broth and letting it evaporate and crystallize, or steaming vegetables and again dehydrating a broth. Any insight will assist.

  • 3
    This may be a better fit for the outdoors stackexchange.
    – mattm
    Feb 10 '19 at 13:54
  • @mattm - it might be on topic or a better fit there, but I think we do have some questions about foraging or wild-sourcing ingredients on this site, so it may not be off-topic here
    – Megha
    Feb 10 '19 at 23:40
  • From animals? Easy, just collect your perspiration.
    – Joe
    Feb 11 '19 at 0:34
  • Thank you for the great comments and suggestions! I'll look into all possibilities. Don't limit your knowledge to my local. However, I am looking for something specifically in the Southwest of the USA. The primary trees around are Maraposa Pine, Aspin, Mesquite and Palo Verede. Sweat isn't something I had thought of but that is a something we get a lot of here lol. Roots or Branches sounds promising. We also have a large selection of Cactus. Feb 11 '19 at 21:41

One option I know of is hickory salt, also found as hickory tree salt or hickory root salt. (not to be confused with hickory smoked salts, which does require salt to make)

Hickory salt is made by digging up the roots of hickory trees, shredding them, and boiling them to a dry, black, salty and mineralish powder. You may be able to get salt from hickory limbs, I saw a reference but only one, so no guarantees.

One recipe is here, another is there

Hickory seems the best bet (for me, anyway, for volume acquirable per plant, identifiability, local to my area etc)

However, it seems there are some other plants that can yield salt - including a source citing coltsfoot, and (having heard of) wild parsnip or wild carrot roots, or stinging nettles, but that source has no experience with either.

Lambs's quarters is another potential source - it's in the comments of the coltsfoot source, and mentioned here (as having mineral salts, not really "extracting them as salt source")

Another possibility is called saltbush, which is apparently used as a salty seasoning in australia.

Many of these sources are assuming a survival knowledge context, so these sources may be what you're looking for.

And of course it may be possible to find mineral salt deposits, from salty or brackish water or animal salt licks... this would involve observing larger animals (like deer, for example) to see where they're getting their salt from... it is essential for life for them as well.

It may, potentially, be possible to source salts from animal sources, since they must be sourcing salt somewhere, but I don't know anything about that or how to tell if any such preparation has it in sufficient quantities or whatever (vs perhaps other undesirable salts or mineral concentrations). Sorry.

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