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Derived from the Latin words sal petrae meaning ‘salt of stone’, saltpetre is potassium nitrate, used in cooking and industrial meat–curing processes to preserve food and to give a good colour to cured meats such as bacon (without it, the cured meat becomes an unappetizing grey colour). Saltpetre is also a constituent of gunpowder. Today, saltpetre has largely been replaced by nitrate for preserving food.
Also known as — nitrate of potash, prague powder, sal prunella, saltpeter