wikiHow to Fill Salt and Pepper Shakers

Four Methods:Identifying Any Special Needs of Your Particular ShakersFilling Shakers According to Hole Size and AmountPreventing Spillage When RefillingOpening Stubborn Stoppers or Plugs

Filling salt and pepper shakers may or may not be self-evident, depending on the type of shakers used. Even if you think you've got this task sorted, there is always the issue of unwanted spillage while you pour––it's annoying! This article explores a few tricks that will help you to fill shakers with ease.

Method 1
Identifying Any Special Needs of Your Particular Shakers

  1. 1
    Read the instructions accompanying more complicated shakers. If there are various levels or layers to untwist and open out, the shakers likely came with instructions.
    • Scan the instructions to your computer for permanent easy retrieval.
    • Reread these whenever needed to remind you.
    • Follow the instructions for disassembling and reassembling the shakers.

Method 2
Filling Shakers According to Hole Size and Amount

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    Fill the right shaker with the right seasoning. This may seem basic but it's actually subject to considerable controversy and depends on your preferences:
    • Some say that salt needs the container with less holes but larger ones, because it's the bigger grain to get through the holes. Others prefer the salt to have more holes but smaller because it allows for more of the seasoning to flavor the dish.
    • Some say that pepper needs to container with larger and more holes because it's a bigger grain that is harder to shake through.
    • The answer probably falls into a gray area––it depends on the size of the grains (really finely ground or chunkier), family/restaurant preference and the tradition you've been raised with. Complicating the answer is the fact that there seem to be different standards in different countries. Go with the flow that works best for you!

Method 3
Preventing Spillage When Refilling

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    Tape over the base holes of shakers designed for pre-ground salt and pepper. The fine grains will easily slip through when you tip the shaker upside down to fill and the tape will prevent this from happening.
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    Turn the shaker upside down.
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    Fill the shaker with ground salt or pepper. To make this easier, use a small funnel to transfer from the original container to the shaker. A funnel can be purchased from the store or one can be made simply from paper (see How to make a cone or funnel from paper).
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    Fill the shaker just to the top. Leave enough space for movement of the grains through the holes.
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    Pull the tape off the holes. Tip the shakers back up the right way. Done!

Method 4
Opening Stubborn Stoppers or Plugs

Some stoppers or plugs at the base of shakers can be really hard to budge. While that's great for during use, it's a bother when trying to remove it for a refill. Here are some helpful suggestions:

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    Ease the side of a strong, blunt knife against one side of the stopper or plug. Gently lift the knife up and ease open the stopper. This method is best for hard plastic stoppers; the knife may mark or cut into softer stoppers.
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    Ask a stronger person to open it. In some cases, there is nothing for it but brute force. Get someone who has a strong grip to place their fingers and thumb around the edges of the stopper and to pull really hard a few times. Eventually the stopper will begin to loosen and can be pulled out.
  3. 3
    Try softening the stopper by washing the shaker in warm water. This will only work if you're happy to let existing contents get washed away. Also, the container needs to be washable, so it's not ideal for untreated wooden shakers.
    • Let the shaker soak for 10 minutes or so in warm water. See if it will ease out while in the water still. If not, proceed to the next step.
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    • Remove from the water and let dry or hand dry with a soft tea towel. Try removing the stopper again; hopefully the warmer water has softened it a little.
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  • Take care not to lose the stoppers or plugs. Place them on a saucer or small plate while filling the shakers, so you can retrieve them easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape
  • Ground salt and pepper
  • Shakers

Article Info

Categories: Food and Entertaining