why was salt such a pre ious commodity in ancient times when you could just boil it out of seawater?

41 views
0

why was salt such a pre ious commodity in ancient times when you could just boil it out of seawater?

In: 0

Because people don’t all live within easy reach of the sea, and we need a lot of salt, both for eating and preserving food. And not every area has a lot of wood to fuel the fires needed, nor a lot of sunny days to use solar evaporation.

Boiling water takes a lot of energy. Even today boiling water for salt isn’t the most efficient way.

It was precious for food preservation especially in places where you couldn’t hunt year round. Same goes for dehydrating meats over fire . Helped it keep longer

How do you boil the seawater?

Well, maybe you need a metal pot, ten big logs and some dry kindling.

So first you need to chop the logs, buy or make the metal pot, and you have to collect the kindling and wait a certain time for it to dry.

Plus you need an hour’s walk to the sea, two hours to boil off the water, and an hour to walk back home.

All in all, like any business. there’s quite a lot of time and money that goes into your little water boiling business.

You work day and night to feed your family and then people come by and complain, “2 duckets for a small bowl of salt?! Daylight robbery. All you have to do is boil off the water”.

“Then just boil it yourself,” you tell them. But they don’t, and they stick to complaining instead.

​

TLDR: In ancient times, there would have been a large investment in both time and energy required to “just boil water”… and so that would be represented in the price.

The biggest factor which hasn’t been mentioned is because salt was heavily taxed and restricted. Governments recognized that salt was necessary for life, so controlling salt would give them a lot of power.