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#1
Old 01-19-2009, 02:47 AM
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Silica Gel Desiccant and Salt.

I have a fairly large salt shaker to accommodate my fine ground snobby sea salt. It works great, however the salt clumps up from the dampness of the climate. My usual standby to compact this clumping, rice, will not work as the shaker has large holes so the bigger flakes of mineral deliciousness fit through.

I am contemplating using one of those little packets of silica desiccant that I got in a new pair of shoes. However, the packet screams "DO NOT EAT" in large friendly letters. I do not intend to eat the silica, nor will I even open the package. I just want to stick the whole packet amongst the crystals.

Is this an acceptable use or am I mainlining hot death here?
#2
Old 01-19-2009, 03:00 AM
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Oops, I should read better

Last edited by seodoa; 01-19-2009 at 03:04 AM.
#3
Old 01-19-2009, 03:08 AM
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Now that I have a real response instead of the one:

I've bought containers of salt and sugar here with silica gel packets in them. I don't know if they are any different than the one you found in your shoes, though. Wiki says that food grade packets shouldn't contain anything bad enough to cause serious problems if ingested, but non-food grade packets can contain all kinds of poisons.

I'd be wary.
#4
Old 01-19-2009, 03:10 AM
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silica gel is pretty harmless unless it has any coloured metal salts to indicate when it is used up.

Your best bet to keep the salt from clumping would be to put the shaker in a sealed plastic bag until you need it. Anything that would absorb the water faster than salt is likely to be used up pretty quick in a humid atmosphere
#5
Old 01-19-2009, 03:15 AM
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Googling around, I find this site which suggests ditching the salt shaker entirely in favor of a salt cellar, which not only better protects from humidity, but allows you to use the aforementioned rice.

Also, they look really cool.
#6
Old 01-19-2009, 04:30 AM
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The traditional method used in Spain is a little packet made by putting rice grains in a little piece of cloth, then tying it up (a rubber band works).

It works in salt shakers, salt boxes, salt anything and you'd have to be really distracted to dump it out without wanting to.
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#7
Old 01-19-2009, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
you'd have to be really distracted to dump it out without wanting to.
Which can be bad for those of us who like to cook under the influence.
#8
Old 01-19-2009, 04:37 AM
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If you're THAT out while you cook, I'll be waiting in the corner with a packet of corn ready to be popped while we watch the house go up in flames...
#9
Old 01-19-2009, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
The traditional method used in Spain is a little packet made by putting rice grains in a little piece of cloth, then tying it up (a rubber band works).

.

Wow....

Ok. So I can't believe I was that thick that I didn't think of that. After all... I was ready to put a packet of Silica in there.... what is stopping me from putting a packet of RICE in there.

Thanks Nava

I actually do have that very salt cellar Sedona, but because I am such a salt-o-holic I have a shaker on my desk too, besides the cellar in the kitchen.

Thanks guys!
#10
Old 01-19-2009, 06:22 AM
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Have you considered buying rock salt and putting it in a spice mill? If you're shooting for snobby "Would you like some fresh ground salt?" is about as high as you can go.
#11
Old 01-19-2009, 09:29 AM
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I see you've found a solution, but I wanted to add that I've noticed diners using a saltine cracker as a dessicant as well.

The other problem I can see with using your silica gel pack from your shoes is that it's probably been exposed to a lot of moisture already. The efficacy may be reduced to the point where it's no longer helpful.
#12
Old 09-02-2016, 05:31 PM
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You can "recharge" the silica by putting it in a warm oven for awhile,so I've read. I have a worse problem with grated Parmesan cheese that invariably gets lumpy and can't be sprinkled on my pasta. I wonder if a silica packet would work?

Last edited by Oldbutcurious; 09-02-2016 at 05:33 PM.
#13
Old 09-02-2016, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbutcurious View Post
You can "recharge" the silica by putting it in a warm oven for awhile,so I've read. I have a worse problem with grated Parmesan cheese that invariably gets lumpy and can't be sprinkled on my pasta. I wonder if a silica packet would work?
The silica packet would sprinkle on your pasta just fine, but it won't taste the same as Parmesan cheese.
#14
Old 09-09-2016, 03:17 PM
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I know this is a revived zombie thread (I guess the salt acted as a preservative?) but one reason I'd hesitate to use a silica gel packet is that if it's in with the salt, it's going to be abraded by the crystals every time you use the shaker - and will eventually fail and leak, possibly without your noticing, resulting in ingestion of the silica (which despite the name, is not obviously gel-like - we poured some into some water and it was more like hard glass beads).

Last edited by Mama Zappa; 09-09-2016 at 03:18 PM.
#15
Old 09-09-2016, 09:01 PM
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The best solution was the Nichols Damp-Proof Salt Shaker. It was a simple and elegant solution to the problem, but alas, the company died during the Depression and no one seemed interested in their patents. My grandfather bought out their stock and continued to sell them into the 70s.
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Last edited by RealityChuck; 09-09-2016 at 09:03 PM.
#16
Old 09-10-2016, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
The best solution was the Nichols Damp-Proof Salt Shaker. It was a simple and elegant solution to the problem, but alas, the company died during the Depression and no one seemed interested in their patents. My grandfather bought out their stock and continued to sell them into the 70s.
That's essentially the same as sticking the lid of a mason jar to the bottom of your salt shaker, and screwing the jar onto the lid when the salt shaker is not in use - with a fancier glass vessel replacing the jar.
#17
Old 09-10-2016, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbutcurious View Post
You can "recharge" the silica by putting it in a warm oven for awhile,so I've read. I have a worse problem with grated Parmesan cheese that invariably gets lumpy and can't be sprinkled on my pasta. I wonder if a silica packet would work?
Keep the cheese in the fridge - should be nice and dry in there. Better still - buy it as a hard lump and grate off what you need when you need it. It keeps forever.

Last edited by bob++; 09-10-2016 at 12:58 PM.
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