Several types of salt can be used for canning and preserving food. The best salt for canning largely depends upon your taste preferences, as well as the visual appeal you want the canned product to have. Canning salt, sometimes called pickling salt, is the most common salt for canning. Kosher salt is also a popular choice for food preservation. Other salts, such as table salt or sea salt, can be used in home canning, though these salts are generally not preferred because they leave the canned food looking dark or cloudy.
Most people prefer to use canning or pickling salt for food preservation. Adding canning salt to your canned foods not only improves the shelf life of the food, it presents a well-flavored and more appetizing product. Pickling and canning salt does not contain iodine, anti-caking agents, or other fillers. This salt is pure sodium chloride, and it generally adds more flavor to canned foods than other salts. Canning salt also does not darken food items or cause the liquid to turn cloudy like some other salts do.
Table salt and sea salt can be used in canning and food preservation, though most experienced canners prefer not to use these types of salt for canning. Sea salt is not generally suggested for canning primarily because of its expense. It may also contain certain minerals that could discolor preserved food. Table salt contains fillers and anti-clumping agents that make the liquid cloudy, and the iodine in the salt discolors the food.
Kosher salt is another popular salt for canning. Like canning or pickling salt, kosher salt does not contain iodine that will cause cloudiness or discoloration. Some brands may contain an anti-caking agent called yellow prussiate of soda. This agent does not cause discoloration like some other salts though. The primary difference between kosher salt and canning salt is that kosher grains are coarser, making it more difficult to properly measure the salt for canning.
Salt substitutes or low-sodium salts should be avoided in home canning. These types of salt contain additives and fillers that will not only discolor the food and liquid, but will likely affect the taste of the preserved food as well. The best types of salt for canning can generally be found in the canning area of a grocery store where other canning supplies are located. Pickling or canning salt, as well as kosher salt, will generally be located in this area. Table salt, sea salt, and salt substitutes will usually be located with the other spices, even though they can be used for food preservation.