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Salt Pig


Salt Pig

Salt Pig

“What on earth is this?” Danny was unwrapping his Christmas stocking. “It looks like some sort of portable urinal for invalids.”
“No. You’re holding it sideways. It should stand upright with the hole on one side.”
He waved it about for a bit looking perplexed. Finally I put an end to his misery.
“It’s a Salt Pig. It’s supposed to keep the salt dry. It’s called a salt pig because it has a protruding ‘snout’ of sorts.”

This autumn our kitchen was so damp that an ordinary cardboard pack of salt was unusable within days. The outside was soaking wet and the salt clogged inside. It was maddening.

I’d heard about Salt Pigs – somehow the design ensures that the salt stays dry even in damp or humid conditions. I trawled the Newmarket shops without success. Now I know that Newmarket is hardly a shopping Mecca but I was surprised at the dearth of salt pigs.

Just before Christmas I popped into a shop to buy some egg cups and found a Salt Pig in the egg cup section. Very dusty and clearly not a hot seller. It wasn’t initially destined for Danny’s Christmas stocking but I popped it in to give a bit of gravitas to the chocolate bars that he always puts on his list to Santa.

I’m delighted to report that after a ceremonial filling on Boxing Day, the Salt Pig is a success. The salt is quite dry and we like the look of it sitting beside the cooker. Shaking salt from a pack can lead to disasters, with the SP salting food can be an exact science again.

I can’t figure out how the Salt Pig actually works. I’ve trawled the Internet and have discovered that everyone that uses them say that they work but there is no explanation of the physics. I checked on Amazon this evening and there are loads of different designs and shapes – and not all have the protruding snout. I just wondered if you could help me figure out this conundrum as I’d love to know the reason why they work.

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  1. Jeannette

    Salt pigs are usually made of porous, unglazed material that absorbs any moisture, hence keeping the salt dry. (Although there must be a limit of absorbency.)

    Pygg was a type of orange clay originally used to make this vessels, hence the name. It’s also the origin of Piggy Bank.

  2. I have been using salt pigs for years and have two stood by the cooker one with course salt the other with fine. The salt stays dry no matter how steamy it gets but I have no idea who they work….

  3. Barbara

    All the op shops(charity shops) here in South
    Australia have these! Maybe because our
    climate is so dry (like Greece or Southern
    Spain) that they aren’t necessary. I’d love
    to know if they actually work and how.

  4. Victoria

    Not a problem we have here, must be the different climate. Wonder if they’d work for icing sugar which does clump all the time.

    I’ve wondered for ages about the point of these, ever since seeing one in among the other items in the Nigella Lawson range. I just thought she must really have had a thing about salt :-).

  5. Shereen

    I used to have what was called a salt pig, but it didn’t look like Danny’s. It was more beehive shaped and didn’t have any sort of snout at all. Which is possibly why it didn’t do a good job of keeping the salt dry.

  6. This is intriguing to me because I keep salt in a sugar bowl by the stove. A salt pig would be more convenient, but I always assumed that it would crust up. I will also say that sometimes when I take the lid off the sugar-cum-salt bowl, it’s still sometimes dampish in there. Fiona- where in the kitchen do you keep your salt pig? And will you report on it some more? I confess I never had a problem with humidity and salt boxes, but I buy my sea salt in bulk, so need to keep it convenient. Thanks!

  7. OMG! I have seen these and thought they looked cute but scoffed at the idea of putting salt in one in our kitchen as it would be damp & clump within a nanosecond.
    I had no idea the salt stayed dry in them!?
    Thank you :o)

  8. I LOVE it!

    J x

  9. trisha ashley

    Oh, we all had salt pigs when I was doing the hippie earth mother bit in my youth! Also those terracotta baking pots for chickens, think they were called chicken bricks.

  10. I also got a salt pig for Christmas with a cute little wooden spoon! Can’t tell you how they work though, can just confirm that they do.
    I hope it’s Maldon sea salt that you have got in there! x

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