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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:51 pm

Yesterday, for the first time in (maybe 10) years, I did a thorough inventory and cleaning of the spice cabinet. In my house this is two shelves, one for the dry goods and one for the oils, vinegars, and bulk items (sugar, cocoa, flour).

What did I find? No real surprises, but I did notice a few old things, a few jars near the bottom, and some duplicates (two white peppers, two green peppers, two boxes of cloves, two jars of chili powder). So, I tasted. I kept both white peppers, though I clearly preferred one over the other. I dumped the freeze-dried green peppercorns because the dehydrated ones were better. Dumped the cloves that got all dark and tasteless. Dumped the concrete-like powdered espresso. Dumped the ancient can of PAM and the potassium chloride salt. Mixed the two cayennes together -- different from each other but both good.
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Christina Georgina » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:20 am

Bravo ! I t is amazing what one can find in the spice drawer. In mine it is usually the gifted item that I thought wonderful at the time but somehow just forgot about. Fortunately it is a finite space so culling is essential.
Mamma Mia !
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:38 am

We REALLY need to do this.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:13 pm

I have a cupboard on each side of my range hood. When I open the door, a revolving, two shelf spice storage pops out. I have them in alphabetical order (sort of) so I can find them easily. I keep only the spices and dried herbs I use all the time in these two areas. When a jar is low, I go to my bulk area, pull the bag and refill the jar. I can easily see when I need to reorder from Penzeys. Penzeys sends their bulk in heavy plastic with zip closure. I then store several of those bags together in a heavy freezer bag and stand them up in a bulk drawer that was made especially for the bulk stuff .Each bag is labeled in front, so I can quickly see what is in there. I order from Penzeys twice a year, for the bulk and occasionally a jar or two for things I do not use a lot.

It has been a great system for me and everything stays fresh. The rest of the dried herbs and spices are kept in a wall of pull out pantry shelves. They occupy three shelves along with other items. I try to keep these in alphabetical order but they quickly get out of order and this drives me crazy. I hate looking for stuff, it is such a waste of my time. With each order, Penzeys sends one or two free trial bottles of their latest concoction or a new item. These really add up over time, many remain unopened. Some I give away as they are repeats.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:19 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I hate looking for stuff, it is such a waste of my time.

I have my spices ordered by kind: herbs to the left, sweet and spicy to the right, general purpose in the middle. Less-used up against the cabinet walls, behind the others.

With each order, Penzeys sends one or two free trial bottles of their latest concoction or a new item. These really add up over time, many remain unopened. Some I give away as they are repeats.

I have a third shelf for small equipment and Penzey's jars of dubious value.


Jeff
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Cleaning out the spice cabinet.

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:51 pm

Jeff, I love the idea of separating the herbs and spices, I will have to think about that. I'd never even thought of it.

Our youngest son who is 42 now, started cooking when he was four. By the time he was five, he could stand on a small stool and make his own omelet. He loved my spice/herb jars. He would open a jar simply to smell it. One day when he was about 6, I left him in the care of his older sister while I ran to the store. She was in her bedroom reading, and son decided to organize my spices. He combined ones that were about 1/4 full, threw out some that no longer had a smell and even mixed some spices with herbs. He was very proud of himself and told me he fixed my spices for me. At first I was shocked, then laughter came, a big hug and thank you.....

That is when I decided to get better organized. That same kid went on to work in Alaska during summer months to help pay for college, by his forth year he was head cook. That year, he was asked by a couple he met up there to cater their wedding in Seattle. He catered a wedding for 400 people without batting an eye. He still cooks! Every time he comes home, he opens my spice/herb cabinets and checks everything out. Then he heads for the garden to see what I am growing. 8)

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