Review Contents & Discard Old Spices
Spices can last for several years but the older they are, the less potent they become, and some lose their flavor more rapidly than others. If you cannot smell the spice when you remove the lid, chances are it should be discarded and replaced. Spices that have the appearance of being lumpy or the color has changed should definitely also be discarded.
To keep spices fresh, always insert a clean utensil to remove contents, ensure lids are tight fitting and reseal quickly after use, to prevent a build-up of moisture from ruining the contents.
Once you've reviewed your collection, make a list of which ones really need to be replaced or replenished. If you'll be buying bulk, gather up small jars, wash and ready for the new spices. Make sure you wash the exterior of all your spice jars with warm soapy water and dry completely.
Spice Storage Solutions
- Spice racks: Spice racks should hold your favorites, and they come in different shapes and sizes, either wall-mounted or revolving counter models. Decide how many spots you need for your favorite spices and where you will locate the holder before you shop.
- A home-built spice rack: You can easily make a rack with baby food jars. You attach the lids by screws to a wooden board, which can then be fastened to the underside of a cupboard shelf. I've used such a rack for many years, and only recently changed over to a revolving type. Ensure that there is enough space to insert your hand in the cupboard and unscrew a filled 'jar' from the lid. Also do a trial run with the wooden board to ensure it will insert properly into the cupboard.
- Two-tiered lazy susans: These are great space-savers for holding small bottles and condiments, and the convenient revolving feature makes retrieval so easy.
- Step-designed shelf organizers: These organizers do not save room in your cupboard, but lift each row of jars so you can actually see and retrieve the cupboard contents from the back rows.
- Drawer inserts: If you can spare a drawer, these plastic inserts provide a very convenient storage solution.
- Drop-down attachable drawers: A great way to add storage, but ensure there is adequate room for installation, and the drop-down action.
These small envelopes and packages can be stored in a small clear plastic container or a stepped-holder for easy access. Monitor contents often and rotate these regularly as contents tend to harden.
Apply labels to all your bulk spices - it's so easy to forget what the contents are. Small size canning jars make great storage for bulk spices or large supplies, and the same size jars makes efficient use of the cupboard space and may also allow stacking.
Get Creative & Learn How to Use Your Spices
We all have spices that we seldom use - we're just not sure how to use them and with what foods, but we hang onto to these waiting for someone to shed light on the subject. Resolve to find out how to use them and add creativity to your cooking and baking. A good place to start is at About Foods where our About cooks have many delicious recipes for you to try.
Keeping your spices organized with your favorites at easy reach, and rotating for freshness will increase efficiency in your kitchen, and ensure a particular spice is available when you need it.
More Steps to an Organized Kitchen