I don’t know about you but I have a ton of spices, seasonings and dried herbs in my kitchen. Some I use all the time and some I’ve only used a couple times for a new recipe, but at any rate, there are a lot of them. We have recently moved into a new apartment, but at our previous residence, I had all the little jars combined on one shelf. And this shelf wasn’t even eye-level – I had to stand on tip-toe just to pick up a jar from the front row (and get a step-stool to reach those in the back). Then, if I wasn’t sure exactly where a particular spice or seasoning was, I would have to go through and pick-up different jars, hoping I’d come across it soon. This was not an ideal situation by any means and took up more time than necessary, especially when using several different ingredients for one recipe. So when we moved to our current place, I knew I had to do something different.
I looked through our new kitchen for some sort of nook, but by the time all the cooking utensils and cookware had been placed, there just wasn’t one. So I decided to re-visit an idea that I’d considered before but rejected: a spice rack. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the thought of having a spice rack. I just wasn’t sure how to make it work (albeit I hadn’t put that much thought into it). I already had a nice swivelly one that I received as a wedding gift several years ago (see picture). It contained 16 different jars, but they were pre-labeled and already contained spices/herbs/seasonings in them (just adding to my vast collection). A few of the jars were empty from where I’d used them up but most weren’t. So what was the best way to use this current spice rack to store all my current spices? I finally came to this plan:
1) Go through all my current spices/seasonings/herbs and discard any that were past the expiration date or that I just didn’t use/need.
2) Empty out all the jars in the spice rack (it was 6 years old anyway, so it was probably time).
3) Wash and dry these jars.
4) The ones that were already labeled correctly for the spice/seasoning/herb I wanted to use (for example, Oregano was already labeled) – fill these jars and eliminate them from my huge stash.
5) For spices/seasonings/herbs that I wanted in the spice rack, but had no labeled jar for – use a label maker to re-label these jars and then proceed to fill with the correct spice/seasoning/herb (then eliminate these from my huge stash as well.)
And wa-la! Just like that, all my spices were eye-level, easily accessed and identified, and took up far less space. I still have a small nook where I keep extras (I had 3 bottles of paprika somehow!) and additional seasonings that I couldn’t fit in the rack.
It was probably possible to purchase an un-labeled, un-filled spice rack, but I wanted to find a way to use what I already had (and hence, save money) and I’m pretty pleased with the result! But I think it’s definitely worth the investment even if I’d had to buy a new spice rack.