Perhaps you get by with just half a dozen dried herbs and spices, or maybe you’ve got forty or more in your collection. Either way, smart storage is essential. To stay vibrant, these flavorings should be kept in a cool, dark place—heat and light quickly diminish their potency. And yet you also want them within easy reach while cooking. Finding a balance between ideal storage conditions and instant accessibility is the challenge. Here you’ll find a variety of design solutions, along with a few quick fixes. They just might help spice up your life.
Joan Hannas of Newton, New Jersey, created space for her spices on the inside door of a tall cabinet (above). Be sure the cabinet shelves are recessed enough to accommodate the depth of-the door shelves.
Mark Campbell of Edina, Minnesota, picked up an attractive Indian wooden spice holder while travelling. It’s small—it holds seven spices—but can be moved to wherever it’s needed in the-kitchen.
Sue Ellison of Edgewater, Colorado, devoted an extra-deep drawer to her sixty spice jars. The lids are labeled for easy recognition.
If you like the idea of seeing and reaching all of your spices without opening doors or drawers, consider lining them up single file (alphabetically, for unbeatable efficiency) on a shallow shelf under a-long run of cabinets. The shelf could be attached to the cabinetry or simply affixed directly to the wall.
Joseph H. Nieckoski of Bellport, New York, had spice racks built into narrow slide-out shelves below his cooktop. “The idea was sort of like being in the cockpit of an airplane, ” he says. The slide-out racks put everything within reach, and they’re retractable when not in use. Before installing any kind of spice storage near an oven or cooktop, be sure the area doesn’t get too warm.
Short on space?
Laura Minne of Boise, Idaho, uses stackable plastic bins sold at bath and home stores to hold batches of spice bottles. You can stack the bins, making storage more compact. It’s a good idea to label the lids not only with the spice name but with the date as well. Most spices should be replaced after six months.
David Michael Cane of Solvang, California, incorporated a spice alcove into his cooking island. Because one side of the island is raised, he gained a cubby hole for spices on both sides of the stove.
Sources for spice containers
For spice jars, holders and racks, try your local kitchen and home store, or Crate & Barrel. Lee Valley Tools, or Hold Everything. Finding an Indian wooden spice holder might take some searching, but Kalustyan’s carries a metal one that is similar.