Salt is found all over the earth. Salt is essential for life in general, and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food preservation. When someone is referred to as the salt of the earth it means they are good and reliable and needed in the world. At one time salt was so prized that only Royalty had some.
We can harvest salt by evaporating the water from a container of seawater. In the Pilbara region of Australia they excavate huge pits near the ocean and then install a gate between the pit and the sea. Open the gate to fill the pit with incoming seawater, close it to let the tropical Australian sun evaporate the water and then send in the bulldozers to harvest the many tons of salt. The scale of it is breathtaking.
Salts are used with pigment to make colour dies. If you throw salt onto a fire it snaps and pops and glows and shows colour. These attributes are those of fireworks that are made with salt as a main ingredient. Salt is a main ingredient in iron disulfide which has a metallic look to it. We call it fools gold. Who knew? When a person is referred to as an old salt we mean they are long time ocean sailors.
Salt is used as a universal flavour improver because at low concentrations it will reduce bitterness, but increase sweet, sour and umami, desirable for sweet recipes. But at higher concentrations it suppresses sweetness and enhances umami, which is good for savoury things. Umami is the desirable taste that arises when certain foods are combined. Bacon and cheese is a great example. Salt enhances umami.
Salt enhances the olfactory experience. It can be used to preserve meat and fish. It has been prized over the centuries and is now known to be available all over the world. It combines well with other minerals. Salt supports health by assisting with hydration, aiding a healthy nervous system and reducing cramping in the muscles. Salt is many things. Who do you need to thank for being the salt of the earth for you?