Whether you love the spicy kick of cayenne pepper in stir-fry or the hint of basil in your homemade pasta sauce, one thing is certain — you have more spices in your pantry than your grandmother could ever have imagined. Even if you don't cook as often as you'd like to, having spices handy helps you kick up the flavor in any dish you create. So what do you need to know about storing spices?
Proper storage of your spices will help them retain flavor and color longer. Oxygen, heat and light are three things to protect your spices from. Here are a few tips on storing your spices to get the most life out of them.
- Buy smaller quantities of spices rather than an economy-sized container at the discount store. Many specialty markets (like Whole Foods) sell herbs and spices in bulk, so you can buy only the quantity you'll need.
- Consider buying whole spices and grinding your own, since flavor begins to deteriorate once they are ground.
- When storing spices on the countertop or in a wall-mounted spice rack, make sure spices are not in clear containers, which let in too much light. If you like to be able to see your spices, consider tins with clear lids only.
- If possible, store your spices away from heat, which can cause the flavor to deteriorate faster.
- Some spices last longer than others. If you aren't sure whether a spice is still good to use, check the color and fragrance. Spices won't really go "bad," but your recipe won't taste as amazing when you use out-of-date spices.
How you choose to organize your spices is up to you. Some prefer to stash them alphabetically while others like organizing them by type — think herbs, ethnic spices, salts or peppers. We found some great spice storage options no matter how you choose to organize them.
This revolving spice rack (Crate and Barrel, $40) has 16 spice jars on a white plastic stand. While it would be a great accent on the countertop, because of the clear jars spices would last longer if this were stored in your pantry.
Stainless steel has a classic look, and the Mastrad spice jars with stand (Sur la Table, $30) look great either wall-mounted or on the countertop. The jars are magnetized and have an acrylic window on top so you can easily see what's inside.
The Linus in-drawer spice rack (The Container Store, $12) is made of easy-to-clean clear plastic and has three angled tiers to help you see all of your spices easily and still keep them from cluttering your countertop.
This Zero gravity magnetic spice rack (SpaceSavers, $50) comes with 12 jars you can hang any way you want, including upside down. The unique design saves space and looks sleek in your kitchen. Jars have settings for shaking just a bit or pouring a bunch.
The SpiceStack organizer (Problem Solvers, $30) is a great way to store lots of spices in a compact space. The drawers pull out and hang down to display spices at eye level. It can hold 18 full-size spice jars or 36 half-size jars.
This stainless steel spice box (Williams Sonoma, $50) has seven small removable containers inside a large, round container and is a great way to organize your spices by cuisine. The double lid keeps your spices fresh longer.
With a little bit of help, you can tame those spices in your pantry and put them to work.
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