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Spice storage

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John F

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Spice storage

by John F » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:27 pm

I was visiting a friend recently and was beefing about how in our new Boston home our kitchen is smaller and I have my spices in jars where I really can’t see what they are without a hint and peck lift process. She told me that she buys her spices at Penzeys and then puts them in ziploc sandwich bags and puts them in a plastic box in alphabetical order.... takes up the same or less space and no hunt and peck.... sounded ingenious to me. Anyone else do this?
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Jenise

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Re: Spice storage

by Jenise » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:01 pm

No. Way too anal for me! :) But what your friend is saying is that she buys the bags vs. the jars.

I have a large pantry. All my seasoning/spices are on one big shelf. I have open plastic bins, about the size of size 13 boot boxes, in which I keep all my dry seasonings. In two I keep the typical 3 ounce jars--one contains powdered spices, the other leafs and seeds. Separate from those is a bin that contains all the little envelopes from Penzeys from which I refill said jars. Another small bin keeps the tiny one ounce things jars of things used rarely and sparingly, like ground cloves. Separate from those are pint and quart sized jars of the things I buy that don't fit in 3 ounce jars because I use a lot of them--dried chives, dried jalapenos, herbs d'Provence, Mexican oregano, star anise, chiles, Hungarian paprika, etc. I cook all the time and have a steel vault kind of memory, so there isn't much hunt and pecking--I know where things are. Also, I greedily save unusual 3 ounce jars so I know the red lid is tarragon, etc. Even those things that don't have unique red lids only take a second to find either because they're almost unique or because they're not one of the unique ones.

But of course it's taken me years to build this inexacting but suitable-to-me system, where you have the unusual case of starting over every couple of years wherein you might buy all from a single source and everything looks alike. A sea of black lidded Penzey's bottles would require labelling.
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Ted Richards

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Re: Spice storage

by Ted Richards » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:09 pm

I use a system I bought many years ago, which consists of a rack of diamond-shaped bins, each large enough for one spice bottle. It came with enough standard-sized spice jars to fill it and labels for common spices. Since I have two sets of them, I just write over the duplicate labels for less common spices.

They sit in standard sized cupboards with the bottles on their sides and the labels facing outward. I think they are 5 or 6 across and 4 rows deep. There is just enough room to fit a few jars on top for non-standard spice jars.

Here's something vaguely similar, although ours are cheap, but sturdy, plastic, and didn't come with any spices. We just fill them from our local bulk spice store:

https://www.amazon.com/Kamenstein-Criss-Cross-Bamboo-18-Jar-Refills/dp/B005PP2LCU/ref=sr_1_13?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1547499442&sr=1-13&keywords=spice+rack
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Spice storage

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:47 am

Herbs on the left, spices on the right. Whole spices against the far left wall, infrequently-used seasonings against the far right wall. Pepper mills in the middle, salt and extracts behind them.

Next shelf up: oils to the right, vinegars to the left (Madeira sits with the vinegars). Ziploc bags of bulk spices to the far left, baking components to the far right and back.

Next shelf up: obscure tools... because you need a trampoline or rocket-belt to get up there. :D
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Dale Williams

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Re: Spice storage

by Dale Williams » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:21 pm

I think one of Betsy's favorite things re new kitchen is long rollout drawers. Much easier than cabinet where we had before
1 has pepper family (paprikas,. cayenne etc) , plus a section for blends (garam masala, z'aatar, baharat, various Penzey blends)
Next has whole spices on one side, ground on other. Things like bay leaves and Star anise with larger containers in back
Drawer for dried peppers, mushrooms, etc shares space with non-cooking blends (furikake, etc)
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Barb Downunder

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Re: Spice storage

by Barb Downunder » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:41 am

I invested in a product which is a carousel system, with each carrousel holding 12 dispensers.
Extra units stack with a connector so you build a tower. They can also be suspended under a shelf. The footprint remains the same.
The dispenser can shake, spoon out or measure by the half teaspoon.
They are called select-a-spice. They hold a regular packet, labels (limited variety)are supplied. But easy to use sticky labels. They also have a window to reveal content.

The other thing I use is a drawer insert from ikea Which is simply a corrugated acrylic sheet so it holds the bottles in place.
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Rahsaan

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Re: Spice storage

by Rahsaan » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:56 am

Interesting options here.

I just put everything in the cabinet and above my cutting surface, and rummage around.

BUT, I make a conscious effort not to buy too many spices/condiments etc until the old ones are gone. I try to minimize clutter and waste.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Spice storage

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:09 am

Last July, as we were moving my mother-in-law into assisted living, I spent an hour cleaning out the spice cabinet. She still had tins of McCormick spices from the 1970s. Some of the tins had been in three different houses!
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Spice storage

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:11 pm

Yeah, I think everybody has a few old spices sitting around. I have a few old piquin and dundicut peppers... I'm sure they're not as good as they once were but they're still hot. I haven't used powdered mustard in years and I'm sure a tin of Colman's is sitting there. So it goes.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Spice storage

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:39 pm

There are a lot of Indian spices that I can only buy in quantities way too large for the rate at which I use them. I had been storing the open and partially used bags in mason jars, but lately I've taken to using ziploc bags. The reason: you can eliminate more exposure to oxygen that way.

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Dale Williams

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Re: Spice storage

by Dale Williams » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:03 pm

Some things like paprika lose a lot quickly. Other things (especially whole spices and seeds) seem to last longer.
The bags from Indian groceries are way more than I need, try to repackage to reduce oxygen exposure, but as they are so cheap it's not as painful tossing if I think they've begun to lose effectiveness.
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Jenise

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Re: Spice storage

by Jenise » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:49 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Some things like paprika lose a lot quickly. Other things (especially whole spices and seeds) seem to last longer.
The bags from Indian groceries are way more than I need, try to repackage to reduce oxygen exposure, but as they are so cheap it's not as painful tossing if I think they've begun to lose effectiveness.


Same here. Also, I re-order from Penzey's about every 9 months--virtually every time I run out of tellicherry peppercorns--and replace/refill things fairly regularly.

Sure a change from what I grew up with. My mom had a spice rack that came with full jars, an executive gift to my dad when I was 6 or 7. Most of them were still fullish of the original stuff by the time I graduated from high school. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Spice storage

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:04 pm

Ditto!
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Spice storage

by Paul Winalski » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:12 pm

There certainly are cases where fresh spices make all the difference. The very fresh "facing heaven" dried chiles and Sichuan peppercorns that I got from The Mala Project were a real eye-opener for me.

-Paul W.

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