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Salt Pig for spice storage...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I've got a fairly small kitchen and that is why I'm looking for practical items which will be close to the stove, at arms length, in terms of spices in order for me to cook efficiently. I was thinking of getting one of those multi-turn spice racks but they take up too much space and then you have to fish for them and open the lid, by which time it might be too late for the food.

I'm actually thinking of maybe purchasing a few of what they call 'salt pigs'...only saw them the other day. I know they're designed for storing salt so that you can quickly dive in and pinch some, but I was wondering if anyone's had any experience in using

this product for storing various spices. I like the fact that there is no lid and that you can just dive in...most come with a little spoon as well.

 

Would this way of storing spices cause them to have a shorter shelf life?

 

The one I really like is the following: http://www.etsy.com/listing/40900865/french-salt-pig-salt-cellar

but it is way too expensive (obviously hand made). I wonder if anyone's seen something similar to this one.

Simple, with a wide opening at the front and no nonsense or kitch design?

 

I'd love to hear what others have to say...

 

Thanks heaps...

 

Beeswax

post #2 of 12

I can't think of a worse way to go, Beeswax.

 

The big enemies of herbs and spices are heat and light. With those "pigs" you are maximizing exposure to both.

 

For the same reason, you want to store herbs and spices as far from the stove as you can.

 

For small kitchens, one good solution is inside-the-cabinent-door storage. A spice rack holding a single row of jars (or one with more than one such shelf) gets mounted to the inside of the door. This takes very little room away from the cabinet, itself, keep them fairly convenient, and minimizes the heat and light problems.

 

An alternative is to have a thin steel plate mounted to the door, and then use magnetic "jars" to hold the herbs and spices.

 

I'm a little concerned about your comment about fishing for and having to open containers. Mise en place is just as imporant in the home kitchen as in a professional one, and you should have all your ingredients laid out and ready to go before starting a dish. If counter space is at a premium (and I don't see how it could be, not if you're considering a group of those open containers or a lazy Susan for spices), just get a cheap cutting board large enough to cover your sink. That'll open up your prep area.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 12

Perhaps the most important tlhing a home cook can learn from the professional kitchen can learn is the importance of mise en place.

 

As it stands, your need to find and measure spices in the middle of cooking something already on the stove is compromising your ability (not to mention innate talent) of cooking well.  You should remove everything you need from the spice cabinet and have it ready to go before putting the pan on the fire. 

 

Triply true if, like me, you're the keeper of a well stocked but not well organized spice cabinet.

 

Of course this works (and should be practiced) with everything that goes into the pan -- not just spices.

 

You might even find it better if you pre-measure those things which are otherwise tedious or tricky to measure. That actually doesn't work for me because as a "by guess and by gosh estimator" it doesn't take me much time to measure; and because I don't trust recipe measurements (not even my own) and prefer to adjust on the fly.  Just sayin', is all.

 

Working from a mise en place (pros just call it mise) will not only improve your timing and precision, it will do wonders for your planning and discipline -- these things are among the most important magics in any really good cook's bag of tricks.

 

So, no salt pig.  Cute idea though.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #4 of 12

Thanks for asking this question Beeswax.  I have many many times looked at those salt pigs in the fancy cooking stores and thought wow that mihgt be a handy rig.  I never bought one mostly for the reasons stated above but I am glad you asked it so we can know what some "real" cooks REALLY think of them.  Great question!

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks JustPJ, Boar_d_Laze and KYHeirloomer for your valuable comments. In the back of my mind I did think that having spices exposed to the elements might not be such a good idea, but I guess I got carried away with the look of these salt pigs....

 

Can anyone suggest some really nice airtight spice jars...maybe even ceramic ones like - http://daisy-days.com/personalized-ceramic-jar-favors.html....I'm interested in the design of these...they look handy once open because you can just dip the spoon in straight away.

I wouldn't mind getting some similar glass or porcelain or ceramic ones, if anyone's got any ideas..I'm finding it hard to find good quality products that have an airtight seal and are functional enough..

 

Sorry to bother you all again....

 

Thanks,

 

Beeswax

post #6 of 12

Legitimate questions are never a bother, Beeswax, so put that idea out of your head.

 

Wish I could help you, but we have different orientations on this. Obviously, the aesthetics of the containers are important to you. To me they're not. Plain jars, bottles and tins that can hold the herbs/spices securely, and which allow as little light and air as possible, do it for me. Beyond that they can be ugly as home-made sin and I don't particulary care.

 

Have you checked places like Crate & Barrel and Pier One? They're probably better bets than housewares stores per se. Been my experience, though, that containers like that usually have loose-fitting lids at best, as they're designed to hold other types of products. One exception: I've seen small ceramic and cut-glass jars that had cork stoppers. They would work perfectly for you if you can find them.

 

A more expensive route would be to commission a potter to make spice jars for you. They'd not only be pretty, they'd be an exclusive design you know you won't see on everybody's spice rack.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 12

Having been a former Tupperware Manager I keep mine in airtight Tupperware.  I think KYH is right on for that.  Use what you like as long as it does the job. 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks,  KYHeirloomer and everyone...it's so great to have these forums where everyone is welcome to exchange ideas.

 

I haven't tried the shops you mentioned because we don't seem to have them in Australia...unless I'm wrong...but I haven't seen them myself. Unfortunately I'm a sucker for good looking storage containers...with one exception...they have to have an airtight seal of some sort or a very secure one at best. So they have to function well....but it seems combining the two is very hard these days...you either have nice looking jars that serve little purpose in terms of their seals or you have not so good looking ones with excellent qualities....oh what is one to do :)). It doesn't matter, I'm not in a rush...I'll keep looking. I've just renovated my old, falling-apart kitchen into something brand new...for the first time ever and I just would like to create a certain look in this kitchen...something I never had a chance to do before...so I got a little excited...even if it is only about storage containers...funny that.

 

I just wanted to thank you all for you input so far...

 

Beeswax

post #9 of 12

Didn't realize you were Down Under, Beeswax. So everything I said about stores should be taken with a grain of salt.

 

Oh, wait. You can't, cus you have nothing to hold the salt in. (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

 

Although it will take you even one step further away from efficiency, a solution might be to double-wrap as it were. You can keep the spices in appropriate containers, then insert those containers into a fancy one.

 

Sort of the way many people handle houseplants.

 

One other possibility, based on the same idea. Put your spices into small zipper bags. Then put the bag into your fancy, but not airtight, container. For you this might be the best approach of all, once you learn to do your "meeze." The spices will stay protected but you'll have the aesthetically pleasing jars. But this won't work if you continue trying to cook with the "rummage around until I find it" approach.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 12

Indian and Pakistani shopps typically have a wide selection of stainless steel ware of assorted (appropriate) sizes.  As to glass, porcelain and tinware jars -- you should be able to find them with a google search.  

 

Crate and Barrel, Pier 1, World-Market (nee Cost Plus), Bed Bath and Beyond, etc., are American "Big Box" stores with fairly large selections of dinnerware and cooking items as well as a bunch of other stuff, all sold at considerable discount.  Sort of, but not quite, department stores.  Surely there are Ozzie equivalents.

 

BDL

post #11 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Indian and Pakistani shopps typically have a wide selection of stainless steel ware of assorted (appropriate) sizes. 

 

BDL

These are almost perfect, and many of them are typically about 1 1/2" in dia. about 1/1/2" high and come with s/s lid with a clear plastic "window".  Many have magnetic bottoms, and you can also buy magnetic sheets and cut and glue on magnetic discs to the containers.  For some reason the Indians have cornered the market on s/s ware and trinkets, and the quality is pretty good and so are the prices

 

Might I also suggest your window sill?

 

I am by no means a gardener, but growing herbs on a window sill is pretty easy.  I have had success with bay (bay leaves) rosemary thyme, marjoram, and parsley.  Fresh herbs are never more than a scissor snip away.

 

The difference between fresh herbs and store-bought dried is like the difference of gutting and portioning salmon with leaky boots and a 2 day hangover, and having a salmon dinner with a supermodel in a 5 star restaurant............
 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #12 of 12

You might look for short jars with metal tops and stick them inside your cabinet  door to the common magnetic knife holder. Labels on the bottom of the jars, naturally. That way your spices are in a cooler place and away from the light. Or, if not magnets, some double-sided velcro tape.

 

Mike

travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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