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Salt Box/Keeper?

Aravisea May 26, 2010 09:45 AM

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

  1. r
    ricepad May 26, 2010 11:45 AM

    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
      Aravisea May 26, 2010 11:51 AM

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



    2. SanityRemoved May 26, 2010 05:48 PM

      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
        Chemicalkinetics May 27, 2010 10:53 PM

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



        Most importantly, is it important to name your pig?

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          SanityRemoved May 30, 2010 11:03 AM

          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
            roxlet May 30, 2010 11:40 AM

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

            1. re: roxlet
              Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2010 02:17 PM

              Or simply "Pass the pig"

            2. re: SanityRemoved
              Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2010 01:49 PM

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

          2. re: SanityRemoved
            trakman Jun 2, 2010 08:46 PM

            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. al b. darned May 26, 2010 11:22 PM

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


            1. BiscuitBoy May 27, 2010 08:46 AM

              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. Aravisea May 27, 2010 12:55 PM

                I'm kind of tempted by this one:


                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
                  Chemicalkinetics May 27, 2010 10:50 PM

                  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. s
                  Sherri May 27, 2010 02:47 PM

                  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. Chemicalkinetics May 27, 2010 10:45 PM

                    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. Caroline1 May 27, 2010 10:57 PM

                      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
                        smtucker May 30, 2010 05:50 PM

                        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
                          Caroline1 May 31, 2010 07:06 AM

                          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
                            smtucker May 31, 2010 08:18 AM

                            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
                              Caroline1 Jun 1, 2010 07:11 AM

                              Bummer! |-(

                      2. t
                        tochowchick May 28, 2010 10:37 AM

                        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. grnidkjun May 30, 2010 07:59 AM

                          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. roxlet May 30, 2010 10:13 AM

                            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. a
                              appycamper May 30, 2010 11:51 AM

                              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. applehome Jun 1, 2010 05:32 AM

                                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:


                                (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):


                                1. s
                                  smkit Jun 1, 2010 06:28 AM

                                  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.


                                  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.


                                  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.


                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: smkit
                                    roxlet Jun 1, 2010 08:32 AM

                                    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
                                      Caroline1 Jun 1, 2010 08:42 AM

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

                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                        roxlet Jun 3, 2010 02:46 AM

                                        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
                                          Caroline1 Jun 3, 2010 02:22 PM

                                          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
                                        smkit Jun 1, 2010 08:58 AM

                                        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
                                          Jane917 Jun 3, 2010 06:18 PM

                                          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
                                            Caroline1 Jun 4, 2010 09:39 AM

                                            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
                                              roxlet Jun 4, 2010 11:16 AM

                                              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
                                              Chemicalkinetics Jun 4, 2010 09:44 AM


                                              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
                                            Jane917 Jun 3, 2010 06:17 PM

                                            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.

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