By Tamra Booth, Keeeps
With cookware gadgets and utensils entering the market rapidly and our kitchens filling up at the same speed, we give you five reasons why a handmade salt pig should be at the top of your wish list and is worth its weight in salt.
Salt. The most popular seasoning and arguably, the most important ingredient in our kitchens but so often relegated to the back of the dreaded spice cupboard in a battered cardboard or plastic container.
Tired of the contents of the cupboard spilling out when retrieving my worn box of salt from the depths, I found myself thinking “there must be a better way!”.
Enter the salt pig. Whether you are a blossoming chef, have baked a few loaves in lockdown or are simply looking for a solution to the daily tidying away of the spices that cascade from the cupboard, it may be time for you to invest in the cookware gadget worth its salt.
A salt pig, also known as a "salt cellar", is a simple but effective tool used to keep your salt fresh and close-by. It may not surprise you to hear that I came across the salt pig as they are classically made from clay! The porous nature of some ceramics, make it the ideal material for a salt pig, created to protect salt from hot and humid kitchens which is why a pottery salt pig is our number one choice. With a large, curved opening, they are designed to let you grab or pinch the salt at your convenience, but to prevent dirt getting in.
Why is it called a salt pig?
There are a couple of different theories at work here. One claim is based on the appearance, largely due to their rounded shape, snout-like opening and pigtail like peak, meaning that when you turn it on its side, it resembles the body of a pig.
The other (and the more likely notion, if you ask us) is that the term comes from an old Scottish dialect that refers to nearly any earthenware pot as a “pig”. Language is a funny thing sometimes.
However, some have taken the meaning in a far more literal way and you can in fact buy pig-shaped salt pigs, which in a farmhouse kitchen, may well be perfect…
So, you know WHAT a salt pig is, but why should you buy one?
We share our top five reasons why the salt pig should be at the top of your wish list:
1. It improves the taste of your food!
If you have followed a recipe before, you will have inevitably come across phrases such as “season to taste” or “add a pinch of salt”. Yet so many of us don’t add just a pinch. Tactics include grinding the salt directly over the pan and counting to 5 or going completely rogue and throwing in a random amount and hoping for the best. I can practically hear Gordan Ramsey cursing at me from here.
I had no idea how much salt I was putting into my dish, whether it was a pinch or a punch but once that salt is in, there is no going back.
But no fear, there is a solution! Having a salt pig handy at the side of the stove means you can pinch, taste, season and repeat if necessary, the result being a perfectly seasoned and delicious meal.
All you chefs out there will be relieved to hear that many salt pigs come with a tiny spoon (charming!) so you can record exactly how much salt is being added; essential for recipe development and sharing recipes with friends and family.
2. Avoids waste and keeps fresh
If you’re currently keeping your salt in a salt dish, you might be in the habit of throwing away the salt due to dust or oil falling into the salt, over time. Alternatively, if you use a make-shift salt dish when cooking, chances are that the leftovers end up down the sink or in the bin.
Salt can be left in the salt pig until it is gone! The clever design allows your hand (or spoon) in, but keeps everything else out, all the while keeping the salt fresh and dry – nobody wants clumpy salt.
3. It will make your life easier
A salt pig is a practical buy, not only guaranteed to save you time and hassle when cooking but avoids the awkward refills (and inevitable cleanups) of the salt shaker.
Take a moment to think about how often we use salt. Seasoning salads, salting pasta water, marinating meat and fish…the list goes on. So, why wouldn’t we want such an important ingredient to be easily available?
4. They are so stylish
Whether you have a classic, contemporary or industrial style kitchen, a small kitchenette or large farmhouse kitchen, there is a salt pig out there to fit your space and taste.
Many top brands are now selling salt pigs, with Nigella Lawson including one her last collection and let’s be honest, if a salt pig is good enough for Nigella, who are we to argue.
However, with “handcrafted and small-batch ceramics becoming the accessory of the moment”, the demand for pottery and ceramic kitchenware over the last few years has increased dramatically. More and more people are seeking out the exclusive look of handmade kitchenware as opposed to mass-produced items. So, move over Nigella, handmade kitchenware is in town.
Handmade salt pigs are completely one-of-a-kind, and in the case of pottery salt pigs, coming in all different, colours, glazes, shapes and sizes (and depicting the pig in varying extents!). Fun fact: a small salt pig is called a salt piglet. You just couldn’t make this stuff up.
5. The perfect gift for the person who has everything
We live in an age now where if you want something, you buy it. Whilst this is great, it makes gift-giving for some, an absolute nightmare.
Following a 12-month lockdown consisting mostly of impulse buys and 300 Amazon deliveries per week, shake things up with a handmade pottery gift instead.
A pottery salt pig is an item that your recipient is unlikely to have (first box checked!) but it’s a beautiful piece of pottery kitchenware that they’ll use every day. If your recipient has a beautiful kitchen which would benefit from a personal touch or is a budding chef, a handmade salt pig might be the answer to your present purchasing prayers.
Take a peeek at the Keeeps kitchenware collection. We have the cutest little handmade salt pigs, certain to make a unique pottery gift for your special someone. Better yet, we only buy items which are handmade in the UK so you’ll also be supporting small, local, independent businesses too - a win-win!
It’s the gift that your recipient didn’t know they needed, guaranteed to avoid the “present drawer” and will make them as happy as a pig in muck.
I’d love to know whether this post has convinced you to go the whole hog and treat yourself to a salt pig or whether you’re taking this advice with a pinch of salt…leave your comments below!