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Salt Box/Keeper?

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Does anyone use these? I've seen them at places like W-S but have never heard of anyone actually using them.

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  1. Well, I re-purposed a sugar bowl (w/ lid) to hold kosher salt next to my cooktop for cooking, but I'm not sure if that's exactly what you're asking about...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ricepad

      Pretty much! :) Commandeering another vessels for the purpose, like you did, seems to make more sense than buying something like these:

      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

    2. Salt pigs, I saw one at W-S and wondered what it was used for so I had to look it up when I got home. I use a small prep bowl if I'm going to need a bunch of salt and it sits on the counter till I use it up or contaminate it in which case it goes down the drain or in the trash.

      6 Replies
      1. re: SanityRemoved

        Is it important to have a pig look-alike for salt pigs? :)

        http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Internatio...

        http://www.delight.com/images/photos/...

        Most importantly, is it important to name your pig?

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I had to search a little to find where the term came from. Cooks Illustrated wondered too and did the leg work and discovered that pig was used in Northern England and Scotland to denote earthenware. So pig(gy) bank comes from the same word.

          Maybe if you are going to use it at the dinner table it might be a good idea to have one that looks like a pig. The looks from guests and especially MIL when you say "Pass the Salt Pig" may liven up the dinner. More so if a slight pause is used between Salt and Pig.

          Likewise naming your pig should be done with great discretion as to prevent guests from being passed.

          1. re: SanityRemoved

            I love that -- "Pass the salt.............pig" Very funny!

            1. re: roxlet

              Or simply "Pass the pig"

            2. re: SanityRemoved

              People may get attached to the salt pig and refuse to pass him along. They may even kidnap him. Poor piggy.

          2. re: SanityRemoved

            I have had one of the salt pigs for years, produced by a potter and given to me as a gift by my children. It does not have ears, tails, or anything else decorative. Basic dome with a big hole in the front to stick your hand in. It sits by my stove, filled with kosher salt, and I use it constantly in either cooking, or salting something after it has been cooked. One of my go to kitchen tools, without the kitschy frou frou

          3. I have used one for years like Alton Brown uses. This one even has a gasket on the inside of the lid.:

            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

            1. I also had one similar to Alton's, till the glass broke. Looking for a replacement, the wooden ones looked nice, but wasn't sure about being able to wipe it down, as mine lives next to the cooktop. Finally found a fiesta sugar bowl, that cleans up easily and is very handsome:

               
              1. I'm kind of tempted by this one:

                http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Deen-Sign...

                I'm not a Paula Deen fan but I use more than one kind of salt regularly and like the idea of having it all in the same place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Aravisea

                  And you can put sugar and spice in it too. Put your four most used ingredients in it. There is disadvantage of this single lid salt box. Eventually, you will have minor mixing from one container to another. It will not be a problem if you are simpler putting 4 different kinds of salt as they are not extremely different. However, it can a problem if you have salt, cayenne pepper, dried clinatro, cumin powder....

                2. I've used an open (i.e. unlidded) antique wood box for salt for about 40 years. Humid climate (MD & VA) and now in a very dry area (AZ), there's never been a problem. I keep it at the cooktop and dip into it with my fingers unless I'm actually measuring salt. I can see no reason to buy a specific unit for this job, however. If this one were to disappear, I would use something else that I already own but I would certainly continue to have a salt box close at hand.

                  1. I don't personally use one, but I think they can be very convenience. I just don't use salt enough in my cooking to have one place next to my stovetop. Still, I may use one someday.

                    However, I don't think one needs an expensive salt pig or salt box. You can, but you don't need to. Unlike certain cookware or knives, the performance of a salt pig does not increase with increasing price.

                    1. I've been using a salt box for more than forty years now. If you're curious about what it looks like, you can see it if you go to my profile page and click on PHOTOS. It's the blue and white one with the wooden lid sitting next to my cooktop. I would quite literally be lost without it. It is so convenient just to reach over, flip up the lid and grab the amount of salt I want with my hand, then let the wooden lid drop back down to keep the salt clean. But as you can see in the photo. I have a lot of "must haves" right next to my cooktop within easy reach. Things like vermouth, sake, rice wine, cooking oils, and such. I call the collection my "step savers." Some people would call it clutter, but hey, it's my kitchen! '-)

                      I did once try using an open salt pig, but didn't like it. For me, it wasn't as easy to reach into with my hand when I wanted enough salt for pasta water or such. And I don't like those multiple salt boxes because kosher salt is what I use every time I crank up the cook top or slice a tomato. The multi-salt boxes are too easily knocked over when used the way I use my salt box. Which is not to say I don't use finishing salts. I have about a half dozen of them, but they live in glass jars with a nice tight screw top that sits on my spice shelves. And for me, those salt boxes with a lid that you can set on the counter top are a pain. I would misplace the lid! But I suppose one of those cute multi-salt trays would be great if I were having a radish tasting party. Or maybe a bunch of cruditees for a party with a tray of finishing salts for people to sample, but I don't see them all that useful for the way I cook. If I had one of those, it would probably collect dust right next to my fondue set and the adorable set of cute little pewter mice holding signs so guests will know which cheese is which. WHY can't I throw things away or donate them to Goodwill? OR give them as hostess gifts and let them clutter up soneone else's life? But a nice genrous sized single salt box is a very good thing!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        My mother has one just like yours Caroline. It was my grandmother's and when she died this is one of the few things that moved into our house. For us, it is a connection.

                        I use an anchor hocking glass food storage jar. $2.29.... and it works perfectly for me.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          Oooooooh! Get down your Granny's salt box and put it to work! Whether your Mason jar has a screw top or one of those French lock-down thingies, I can't imagine it being very "user friendly" if you're stirring a sauce with one hand and need to grab a pinch of salt with the other. Think of it as a way of hugging yuor grandmother every day. '-)

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            My mother isn't ready to pass it on to me at all. And she doesn't even use salt in her cooking! It just takes space on her countertop and gives dust a place to hang out.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Bummer! |-(

                      2. I'm in the "re-purpose" camp...use a large white ramekin for my kosher salt...no lid...no problems with clumping etc...just don't want the hassle of a lid...want to be able to just reach in a get what I need when I want it!

                        1. I found a mini enameled cast iron dutch oven for about $7. It looks like a mini staub but it's a knock off I found.
                          LC makes them, but for the price difference and just to hold salt next to the stove, this one works fine and is cute.

                          1. We've been using a salt box for probably 25 years or more. We now have two. One lives by the stove and the other is near the sink. They are both filled with kosher salt. I don't know how to cook without them!

                            1. i just snag antique shop sugar bowls, so i have a collection. if the top is not a snug fit i add a desiccant. i saw the w-s one and it's quite lovely. but stray sugar bowls are often under $5 apiece especially it the sugar-creamer set is broken up.

                              1. I used to have a pig until I dropped a pan on it... I replaced it with Alton's salt keeper, which works just fine:

                                http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Internatio...

                                (except - don't use the spoon)

                                This is kept by the stove, full of Kosher salt for cooking. At the table I use sea salt and this grinder (I have two):

                                http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-Ceramic...

                                1. Sur la Table has some nice salt boxes/pigs. I bought their knock-off of Emile Henry's salt pig and love it. It is simple and only cost $10. I got it in white instead of black, but here is the link.

                                  http://www.surlatable.com/product/bla...

                                  They also have a bamboo one with a magnetized lid.

                                  When guests come over I have a nicer looking open wood box from Scanwood that I use. It is simple, but IMO looks great.

                                  http://aplusrstore.com/product.php?id...

                                  The big one in the picture is quite big, but the small ones are perfect and look great at the table.

                                  Now with that said, I have entertained getting something nice enough to keep on the counter. I still hide my piggie away, and these jars are my current leader to be added to my kitchen.

                                  http://merchant4.com/all/wood-glass-c...

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: smkit

                                    I always wonder about those salt pigs that don't have a lid. Doesn't the salt get hard during humid weather? We use salt cellars at the table, an the salt gets hard as a rock during a rainy/damp spell.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Put about a half teaspoon of uncooked white rice in the cellars and it won't happen any more.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I hate the way it looks with rice in the salt cellars, so since they are small, we just dump them out into the big salt holder and put fresh salt into the salt cellars...

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Well, there's a way around how it looks.... Years ago, I used to have some cobalt blue glass salt and pepper shakers with silver lids. Couldn't see the rice in the salt shaker. Today I mostly use salt mills and pepper mills, so no clumping. I'm a wily witch! '-)

                                      2. re: roxlet

                                        So far it hasn't happened to me, but I live up north where it isn't that humid. In the southeast it might be different.

                                        I also use it a lot, so daily pinches of kosher salt might keep things from sticking together too.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          I live in the Pacific NW, where it rains quite a bit, but I have never had a problem with salt hardening in the salt pig. Mine does not have a cover.

                                          1. re: Jane917

                                            Do you use coarse kosher salt or granulated salt? It has to get incredibly humid for coarse salt to clump because of the irregular shaped crystals.

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              We use kosher salt in the salt cellars and in the salt boxes. It's rare for the salt in the salt boxes to clump.

                                            2. re: Jane917

                                              Jane,

                                              It depends if the salt has anti-caking ingredient. Most salt you buy do, but if you are buying the more pure forms, they don't and they have a greater chance to lump together.

                                              From Morton Salt:

                                              "Calcium silicate is a white, odorless, tasteless, anti-caking agent with no nutritional characteristics. Anti-caking agents absorb moisture inside the package that would otherwise be absorbed by the salt. In this manner, it allows salt to keep its free-flowing characteristics. It is added at less than one half-percent"

                                          2. re: smkit

                                            I also use the salt pig from Sur la Table. I bought it years ago for about $10. It sits out on my sink and gets used everyday. Mine is red.