On a boat, it’s imperative to have a salt shaker with an airtight lid. Without it, there’s no chance that you’ll actually be able to shake salt out of it — the salt picks up moisture and will just clump and clog the holes.
For years, both cruising and camping, we’d used the Rubbermaid salt and pepper shakers with great results.
So I was really disappointed when a friend told me that Rubbermaid recently changed their salt shaker design and that the new design just didn’t work. While we were cruising, over half the boats had the same set we did; the others had Tupperware shakers.
Rubbermaid’s new design (shown at right with the big red circle and slash) doesn’t form a good seal and thus I can’t recommend it. Not only does it let moisture in, but friends have had problems with it flipping open if the shaker tips over. Don’t buy it!
Instead, I’m now recommending the Tupperware salt and pepper shakers. They come in a couple of different sizes and several different colors, one of which is shown at the top of this article. Yes, they’re a little more expensive than the Rubbermaid ones — but they actually do the job!
The one complaint that people have with the Tupperware shakers (and we had to some extent with our old-style Rubbermaid shakers, too) is that the holes are a little small for the salt or pepper to shake freely. I simply used a paper clip (you could also use a needle) and enlarged each hole slightly.
Also, be sure to put a few grains of rice in the salt shaker. This will absorb any humidity that does get in when you’re using the shaker, and will keep the salt flowing freely. I threw the old rice out every time I refilled the shaker, as it can only absorb so much moisture. Another reader left a comment on the Adding Flavor to Meat article that they use pinto beans instead of rice and that it also works well — and the beans don’t get caught in the holes.
If you get salt in a larger container as is typical in the US and larger cities elsewhere, be sure that the “big container” that you fill the shaker from is tightly sealed in a freezer Ziploc with some rice.
In some places, we could only buy “bulk” salt in little baggies — I always transferred it to a more airtight container — either double freezer Ziplocs or a Lock & Lock or Lock-It box — always with some rice, too!