Because my kitchen is very small and space is limited, I have changed my mind about how to store and organize my spices and (everything else) about a thousand times.
I finally decided on a system that has been working out great.
Awhile back when I was at Costco, I saw a two tiered metal basket/shelf/rack designed to go in a bathroom. It didn’t end up working well in the bathroom–I don’t have shelves or cupboard space wide or deep enough to accommodate it.
The solution: use it in the kitchen.
The top drawer holds my Indian spices and anything I may use for baking–sometimes these spices overlap in use. The bottom is mostly herbs and Mexican spices.
(I love the spices from Whole Foods, by the way. And that is turmeric in the large jar. Technically, I should be storing it in an opaque container…)
I love Penzey’s. (Way more than Whole Foods.) Their spices are AWESOME.
Going there is like going to Spice Wonderland. Jars of fresh herbs and spices to smell and sample. A place for kids to sit and color. And the prices are very, very good considering how fresh and wonderful the spices are. I buy mine in these plastic bags to refill the jars I’ve bought from them and other sources.
I store my extracts on this rack on the inside of the one cupboard door I have. (Sorry, I have to complain. My kitchen is so small and lacking in storage.) I only store them there because it’s not really deep enough to store much else and it keeps them handy and organized.
What should you buy to help you organize your spices? That is a very personal decision. :)
Are you someone who likes a lazy susan in a cupboard by the stove? Or do you like your spices out in plain view? Or do you have other ways you’d like to store them?
The Container Store is one of my favorite places on Earth. And our main source for inspiration today.
I can’t decide which spice rack I would most love to own. There are so many choices…
I’m thinking I really love the idea of an in-drawer rack–that is, if you can spare precious drawer space. Those of us with small kitchens may not have this luxury. But I still love it.
Williams-Sonoma also has one made of maple.
This mounted spice rack is another good option. I like it much better than the one I use. It looks like your spices would be held secure and be visible.
I’ve also wondered if I would enjoy a magnetic steel spice rack. It looks like it would be very easy to mount next to the stove.
When I was looking around at The Kitchn (thanks, Adriana!) for the first time last night, I saw this photo while I was looking at kitchen spotlights. I’m assuming those are spices on the fridge. Sweet. I never would have thought of that.
Dean and Deluca has some great spices that come in similar adorable metal tins. I’m sure I could figure out a magnetic strip on my own if I went this route, or I’m loving the metal rack option, too.
Why have I forgotten to mention Dean and Deluca before now? It’s totally my kind of place. I used to spend more time there before I had kids. I don’t own any spices from there at this precise moment, but from past use, I can tell you they are pretty great. Find out if there’s one near you.
What do you guys think about this idea? I think it’s really cool, but I’m wondering how practical? And my kids wouldn’t be able to leave them alone. Still, I kind of like it.
Blog of Note:
Have you ever been over to The Perfect Pantry blog?
It’s a pretty awesome place to visit. Lydia, professional food writer and the author, regularly posts about spices, herbs, condiments, and other ingredients of interest–along with recipes.
There’s also a feature called Other People’s Pantries where readers send in pictures of their pantries. I quite enjoy this blog and this feature.
The Shelf-Life of Spices…and other tidbits:
How long do you keep spices and herbs before you need to toss them?
Here are a few sources to check out on the subject:
Or you can just Google it.
What do I do?
Basically, I rub the herbs between my fingers before using them. If they’ve lost their oomph, I toss them out and buy some new ones. (Again, Penzey’s are seriously the best.)
Spices keep longer, but lose their power a bit, too. I tend to like whole spices the best. I think they pack more flavor punch than the ground ones. BUT–I don’t have a spice grinder…yet. I have a molcajete that I’ve used. And sometimes (yikes!) I’ve used my mini food processor. (Just so you know, that doesn’t really work.)
If you, like me, are in the market for a spice grinder, here are my recommendations–
But aren’t these for coffee? Yes. But because of that, they are really good for pulverizing spices and whatever else you have in mind–whole dried chiles, etc. They are efficient and the perfect size. And pretty darn affordable.
Thanks for your question, CityMama1! Anyone else care to weigh in on this? I love your comments, suggestions and advice.