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spice storage on da islands


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Tkrup

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 02:13 PM

Aloha and Happy New Year to everyone. I need some advice from my fellow residents of Hawaii regarding their method of storage for certain spices such as paprika and chile powder. We've been living here for almost one year, and on three occasions I found some sort of strange and other-worldly cobweb style things....growing in my paprika!!! We keep everything tightly sealed in jars, and don't have any "cleanliness issues" except for the occasional condo cockroach. It happened again last night, and to punctuate the event the Mrs. found some small dark things in our chile de arbol powder. Upon further inspection, the things were moving. Has anyone had similar experience with such spice-loving interlopers? We're considering buying one of those large vacuum sealable containers and using it to store our spice jars. We don't keep spices for an inordinate amount of time, and usually only buy small quantities from the bulk sections of Down to Earth or Kokua markets, but we do buy lots of exotic stuff because we cook many different types of cuisine.

Any help or advice would be appreciated

BTW, the blog looks great Suzy!! Kudos for the Herculean effort over the holidays.

#2 SuzySushi

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for the compliment!

I'd highly recommend storing any susceptible spices in Ziplock bags in the freezer. That'll kill any possible critters and keep the spices fresher. Other spices & herbs should be stored in tightly sealed jars or tins away from heat & bright light.
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#3 JumblyJu

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:19 PM

Aloha and Happy New Year to everyone.  I need some advice from my fellow residents of Hawaii regarding their method of storage for certain spices such as paprika and chile powder.  We've been living here for almost one year, and on three occasions I found some sort of strange and other-worldly cobweb style things....growing in my paprika!!!  We keep everything tightly sealed in jars, and don't have any "cleanliness issues" except for the occasional condo cockroach.  It happened again last night, and to punctuate the event the Mrs. found some small dark things in our chile de arbol powder.  Upon further inspection, the things were moving.  Has anyone had similar experience with such spice-loving interlopers?  We're considering buying one of those large vacuum sealable containers and using it to store our spice jars.  We don't keep spices for an inordinate amount of time, and usually only buy small quantities from the bulk sections of Down to Earth or Kokua markets, but we do buy lots of exotic stuff because we cook many different types of cuisine. 

Any help or advice would be appreciated

BTW, the blog looks great Suzy!!  Kudos for the Herculean effort over the holidays.

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Sounds like it's Down to Earth and Kokua who need help with storage. If you keep your spices in sealed containers then the creatures/things/bugs that appear later were already there when you bought it. My parents have spices bought from supermarkets (McCormick, Spice Islands) that are old and never grow anything. Try buying a sealed jar from the supermarket?

Also, I don't know how large DtE and Kokua's bins are but the spice containers at 'Umeke market in Kahala are a lot smaller than their bulk bins, so maybe your chances there are better?

#4 sparrowgrass

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:13 AM

Spices often have bug eggs in them, just a fact of life--the USDA has limits for how many bug eggs and bug parts can be found in spices.

I put all spices into the freezer for at least 48 hours (or until I need them) before transferring them to sealed jars. I keep the jars in the drawer, and never have bug problems.

The 48 hours in the freezer kills the bug eggs. This technique also works for flour bugs. I am particularly careful to do this with anything that I buy from bulk bins--popcorn, rice, beans.
sparrowgrass

#5 oneidaone

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 10:35 AM

I actually read and tried this - buy some bay leaves and spread them
in the cupboard (the back area is good as they won't fall out when you remove
items) to discourage flour and other bugs. I googled "bugs in flour" and was just
amazed at the amount of information. This proved to be the most useful tip culled
from my reading. I agree with Sparrowgrass that the freezing is essential. Also, do
you date the jar/container/bag they come in so you know when you opened them?
I get a lot of things from Penzey's in the plastic bag which is why I say bag.
Good luck and a hui hou!
"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"
Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

#6 Tkrup

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 11:17 PM

COOL!! (no pun intended) I never thought of the freezer! As soon as we get rid of the gallon of turkey stock I made while I watched the playoffs this weekend, we'll have enough space in the freezer to put the spice rack in suspended animation for a few days.

Just like a spicy Dr. Evil!!!

We have a good supply of Portuguese bay leaves in the pantry already, and I'm thinking that "the babies were thrown in with the bathwater" if you know what I mean. Because of the way we stored everything, I think the critters probably came with the spices, so the bay wouldn't have made a difference in our tightly sealed canisters.

Mahalo everyone!!!

Tkrup

Edited by Tkrup, 08 January 2007 - 11:21 PM.