Spice racks are a great way to store your spice collection. Generally requiring less storage space than loose bottles on a shelf, they group your favorite herbs and spices in a convenient organized storage system, making them easy to locate and retrieve, while you're cooking or baking your gourmet fare.
Spice racks come in a variety of sizes and shapes. There are freestanding spice racks that revolve, units that slide out of a cabinet, traditional wall-mounted models with one or more shelves, plastic drawer tray inserts and stainless rack components that hang on the wall above the counter, to accommodate individual magnetic spice containers. There's also a rack that you can mount on the inside of a cabinet door, such as the Rev-A-Shelf™ rack featured, to take advantage of hidden storage space.
Compare prices of Rev-A-Shelf Racks
And if you really want a deal on spices, check out Pfaltzgraff's. They usually run a deal that you can get free spice refills for a limited time, when you purchase a spice rack from them.
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Spice Rack Placement
Before you start shopping, first decide what type of system appeals to you, based of course on allowable space. You'll need to consider where you'll store it, whether in a cabinet, on a shelf, wall or right on the counter. If you have plenty of counterspace, keeping it front and handy is the best option. The most convenient place to keep spices is close to your cooking/baking area or range. For this reason, I prefer to have more than one rack.
Places to avoid are directly above the stove or in front of a sunny window, because heat and light speeds the deterioration of spices, and once they lose their potency, they should be replaced. Another less desirable place is on top of the refrigerator, because of the warmth created by the appliance.
Once you've decided on a type of rack, measure the space to know your rack limitations. If you're planning on a stand, measure the maximum allowable height and make sure you will not be placing it inconveniently in front of a electrical outlet. Allow room for the stand to spin freely.
Spice Rack Capacity
These vary as well. You'll want to be able to hold as many spice bottles as possible, or at least to have storage for your favorites. Keep in mind that you'll more than likely have a few occasional spice bottles that cannot be accommodated in your new spice rack. That being said, there is no rule to how many racks you can have - that depends on your culinary tastes, limited only by your storage potential. You could have a spice rack for cooking herbs and a smaller one for baking spices.
Keep in mind that certain frequently-used spices like cinnamon or parsley may best be stored in a larger bottle or jar. I find it convenient to keep cinnamon in a shaker for many uses, with an additional rack-stored bottle for ease of recipe measuring.
Rack Design Features
When buying a rack, check the spice containers or bottles for quality lids - ease of opening and closing. Some jars may come with a plastic shaker lid - a good feature, but is it tight or will it fall off after a few uses? Are the bottles or spice containers sufficiently-sized to meet your needs? Revolving stands should spin easily and check the construction of the stand or shelf. Does the wall-mounted rack come with hanging hardware? Inquire as to whether you can buy replacement glass bottles for your new rack system, should you break one. Keep in mind that bulk food stores often carry a good selection of replacement spice jars, should you need some.
Organizing Your Spices
Once you've purchased a spice storage system, it's a good time to review your spice inventory before you load it, discard stale and old spices, or those you never use and refresh contents. Some racks come with popular spice labels and you can add your own. Group your spices for types of uses or recipes, that will make retrieval even quicker.
Read more about replenishing spices
Compare prices of spice racks
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