The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

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. janerowena

    I have a really, realy old salt pig that I inherited from my grandmother, and she got it from her mother! I love it, it has a little wooden shovel that is also very old.

    She also had a little wooden lidded box that was fixed to the wall, but I never did find that as convenient, although it also worked, presumably because the wood is alos porous.

    I keep mine right next to the cooker, too.

  2. Hi fiona
    I too have a salt pig, amazing how many folks do! But I don’t keep salt in it! I don’t add salt routinely to flavour so don’ t have a lot around instead it houses my garlic cloves so they are to hand.

  3. I’m convinced!! I totally need one of these.
    For years we’ve put rice in our salt shaker to absorb any moisture but it’s only worked to a point.
    The design looks completely illogical but from all the comments I’m defiantly going to get one.

    thanks for the post and info all!

  4. Salt pig looks like something I should have put on my Christmas wish list! I love such miraculous kitchen equipment. I wonder if it exists in Switzerland…

  5. Nanny Cook

    I have a salt pig alongside my hob and it does keep the salt crystals dry. I also have a lovely black Nigella Lawson set of two salt pigs (or salt and pepper pigs)on a black tray. I keep sea salt in one and black pepper in the other on my dining room table.

  6. I’ve had a salt pig for over 10 years and it keeps the salt perfectly dry, but I don’t know how! My last house was incredibly damp, and even now when the kitchen is full of steam, the salt still stays dry. The only problem it has ever encountered was when a friend’s boyfriend, who’d never seen one before, thought it contained sugar and put it in the coffee he was making! His fault, not the salt pigs!

  7. Michelle in NZ

    Wow, wonderful info from Joey.

    My Folks’ have had the same one since the mid 1970s and it sure does work. Happy dry salt from now on, dear Fiona and Danny,

    Michelle and a patiently dozing Zebby Cat (waiting for His human to hurry up and go to bed so He can snuggle up against her)

  8. It sounds like an invaluable addition to the kitchen. This is what I found:
    A salt pig is a popular kitchen item used for storing salt or other spices. Its design and materials make it convenient for keeping salt dry and yet easily accessible for cooking.

    Unlike a salt cellar, which is usually bowl-shaped, the salt pig features a hooded top and a large hole in the front. This means that dust or other debris from the air is less likely to find its way into the salt.

    Salt pigs are available in various materials, but the most common one is ceramic. Ceramic and clay salt pigs usually have an unglazed interior, which absorbs any moisture in the air and helps to keep the salt dry.

    The unglazed interior of the salt pig prevents the salt from clumping. Unlike a lidded container or shaker, the large hole in the front of the salt pig makes the salt inside easy to reach with a spoon or hand.
    The Name

    The “pig” in “salt pig” derives from an old Scottish and English term meaning “an earthenware jar.” It’s the same word from which the name “piggy bank” is derived.

    Salt pigs come in a range of colors and designs, from simple white to brightly colored ceramics and even glass. As a pun on the name, some salt pigs come in pink and feature ears and a tail on the back.

  9. I’ve had a large salt pig for years that stands by the side of my cooker and bought one for my son and daughter-in-law last year. They really do work!

  10. Wendy B

    What a wonderful gift, even if you think it looks like it belongs in a hospital sluice room… they are wonderful and have been using my big old pottery one for years. I wonder where they originated from.

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