“I like to be adventurous when I cook, and I use a lot of exotic spices on a regular basis but I need to organize them. I’m thinking of investing in a spice rack, but I’m not sure if that’s the best solution for me. Do I have other options?”~Carolyn Malone, Ocean City, MD
Traditional spice racks are usually a grab bag of sorts—there’s always something you can use often, but chances are, there are a few things in there that you’ll never touch. That’s a waste! Spices can be too costly to go unused like that, so stocking up on what you prefer to cook with often—or at least occasionally—is your better bet. But sometimes, that brings up the problem that Carolyn is faced with—how do you store and organize a collection of odd jars, bottles and bags? Simple! Make your own spice setup.
What you’ll need:
- Tin containers with a clear top (to easily spot your spice). Buy as many as you may need.
- Clear labels or label maker.
- A roll of 2-inch Velcro. This one would be plenty for your whole project.
What to do:
- Before you start, find a suitable area in your kitchen, like a wall in your pantry, or the back of a large cabinet away from heat or moisture.
- Wash and dry your tins thoroughly.
- Afix the fuzzy end of the Velcro strips on your desired spot in parallel lines. Make sure to leave at least 1 inch between each Velcro strip to make room for the tins (i.e. if you have 21 spice tins, you should have three strips of at least 18 inches to accommodate containers that are just under 2.5 inches in diameter.)
- Cut one, 2-inch square Velcro piece and attach the looped end to the bottom center of every tin.
- Make a label for each spice you have. If you know the date of purchase, that would be good to include for reference.
- Pour the spices into their assigned tins, and close tightly.
- Affix your tins to their spot on the strips, and tada!
Now that you have a proper storage arrangement, you should know a few things about spices and herbs. Consider it a crash course in culinary care.
Admit it, you definitely have some marjoram or cardamom (just a guess) that has been sitting in your pantry or spice rack for well…you probably can’t remember how long. Ditch them! The essential oils in your spices—which are what gives them their flavor and aroma—grow weak over time. Whole herbs and spices last much longer (two to five years), while ground varieties have a decidedly shorter lifespan (some as little as six months.) Exposing them to heat—that’s right, don’t store them by your range—light, moisture and air will only speed up their aging process. Storing them in a dark, dry spot like your pantry is the best tactic to give your spices a full, vibrant life. Your food will thank you.
Did you try our spice DIY, or have a homemade variety of your own? Share a picture on our Pfister Facebook fan page!