The Surprising Way Ina Garten Stores Salt

It's always interesting to learn how experienced chefs choose to organize their kitchens and ingredients, particularly the essentials. They can provide useful insights for managing our own. Take, for instance, Ina Garten, cookbook author and host of Food Network's Barefoot Contessa. She stores her salt in a way you wouldn't necessarily have expected.

On the "Ask Ina" section of her website, Garten answers the question: "On your show, I always see that salt is kept in a ramekin or other small bowl. Is the salt left uncovered all the time or do you have a cover or saran wrap to go over it?" She answers, "I keep salt uncovered in a ramekin for easy access while I'm cooking- it doesn't dry out or get bugs the way sugar or flour can" (via Barefoot Contessa). This open storage system is perfect because it means you can always easily add a pinch of salt to whatever you're cooking without the hassle of shaking a salt shaker or adjusting the size of the bottle's opening. But, is this really the best way to store your salt long-term?

How to store salt properly

If you don't have a small ramekin or dish storing your salt and pepper near the stovetop, you're missing out. It's so simple and convenient for seasoning food as you cook. However, the crucial part is that these dishes are small, so that you can use up the salt and pepper before they go stale from sitting out, as The Kitchn explains. As long as you wash your hands before cooking (which we should all be doing), you won't have to worry much about germs getting in, either. Just make sure the dish isn't made of metal — The Washington Post notes salt can even damage stainless steel.

Finally, the main issue with leaving just about anything open on the kitchen counter is dust. However, as one Reddit user recommends, you can always throw a loose lid or small dish over the ramekin when you're done cooking to keep the dust out. That way, your salt will always be there for you.