From the Collection: Saltpetre

by Kylie Berringer (2020 Summer Student)

Saltpetre (also spelled saltpeter) or potassium nitrate has had many different uses over the course of many years.  One of it’s most common uses has been in curing meats, as the chemical adds a salty flavour.  It is even occasionally used to do so in the modern day, and a lot of meats with a pink colour will have used saltpetre.

But the chemical has also had a varied history, including being used for fireworks and explosives.  It was even used during times of war as gunpowder, since saltpetre was more accessible.  Saltpetre has also been used as a fertilizer, and even as a treatment for asthma.

Did you know?

The Lake of the Woods is a remnant of glacial Lake Agassiz and contains 14 542 islands. The underlying Precambrian bedrock is one of the oldest geological formations on earth.