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spice storage (racks, cans, bottles?)


_john
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I am not a fan of most spice storage devices. The are either poorly designed, bulky, or expensive. my current system is leaving the spices the way i get them: in the plastic bags with twist ties on them from the bulk spices place. at this point i have 20+ plastic bags just sitting on a shelf. I am looking for a better solution but I have some strict criteria: no clear glass (light degrades spices over time), the containers must have wide mouths, straight sides, and tight fitting lids. They must be easy to label or have some sort of "window" to see what the spice is without having to pick it up. I would also like the containers to be fairly large, in spice rack terms, 1cup would be pretty good. It would be best if the containers were under $2 a piece as well. Does anyone know something that fits this description or can point me to a good discussion of spice storage options?

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much as u may not want to hear this one..im a big fan of spice racks..currently i own five of them and i still have herbs and spices that need to be put away...i know u said nothing glass and gave reasons why....however for the size requirement u r lookign for..the only thing i can think of is mason jars..which to my knowledge r all clear....but im thinking that if u store them in a dark pantry that might soelve that problem to some degree.....if there is another solution to ur dilema...then perhaps there is another answer out there

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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I think these Seamless Tins are exactly what you are looking for. Invest in a Brother Label maker and you're all set.

Click here to see how Martha Stewart used them (or something very similar). Her's seem to be the 4 oz tins.

Another way I like to use them is to add some magentic tape to the bottom of each tin. A section of metal on the backsplash and you have a convenient storage place for as many tins as you need.

If you're looking for tins with see-through lids, look for something called jewellers or watchmakers cases. Lee Valley has them in various sizes.

A.

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ah, the watch maker cases are very appealing. Im thinking of devoting a large drawer to spices and filling it with these cases. That way I could open the drawer and grab what I need just by looking through the tops. Anyone else have a spice storage solution they are particularly fond of?

Edited by _john (log)
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For years I've been a fan of opaque medicine bottles (to keep out the sun).

with jarring results...

The above link is my current container source. I hit the outside with a mailing label containing the spice or mix name and the date. Question? How many of y'all are refrigerating or storing your spices in the freezer? I do a smoked yellow pepper powder that seems to hold on to its flavor longer in the freezer as well as my powdered citrus zests.

Edited for spelling

Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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ah, the watch maker cases are very appealing. Im thinking of devoting a large drawer to spices and filling it with these cases. That way I could open the drawer and grab what I need just by looking through the tops. Anyone else have a spice storage solution they are particularly fond of?

My gf ordered some of these... they don't seem especially sturdy or to have a very tight seal. Not tested so far.

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I started using small paint jars from an art supply store several years ago with great results. The jars come in different sizes and are typically used to store paints for airbrushes.

THe ones I have have a rubberized seal inside the cap to make them air-tight

They are pretty cheap too, between .75 and $1.50 depending on the size.

I get the locally from an art supply warehouse, but you can geth them online too. Here is a picture:

http://www.in2art.com/product_popup.php?prodID=5638

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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hmm, wow, some good idea in this thread. My spice cabinet is currently a mix of spices in the jars they came in (McCormick and etc), baggies from the co-op where I buy bulk spices, and some in paper bags or ziploc bags when the co-op bags inevitably bust open or when i buy big bags of SWAD stuff at the Indian grocery.

I need a system too, I was thinking of moving to heavier grade ziploc bags and getting a cork-board that I could just pin the bags up to (theoretically through the upper lip, the part above the seal so as to not compromise the spice. I'm not sure how well that would work in practice however.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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hmm, wow, some good idea in this thread.  My spice cabinet is currently a mix of spices in the jars they came in (McCormick and etc), baggies from the co-op where I buy bulk spices, and some in paper bags or ziploc bags when the co-op bags inevitably bust open or when i buy big bags of SWAD stuff at the Indian grocery.

I need a system too, I was thinking of moving to heavier grade ziploc bags and getting a cork-board that I could just pin the bags up to (theoretically through the upper lip, the part above the seal so as to not compromise the spice.  I'm not sure how well that would work in practice however.

The small freezer storage ziplog bags work quite well.

If you take a hole punch and punch a hole above the seal, you can then thread spices of a similar nature (all your chiles), or sweet spices that are usually mixed together, or savory spices, etc, on shower curtain "rings" the old fashioned kind that have a fastening something like a safety-pin. These will in turn, hang neatly on a hook and the bags can be fanned out to find the one you want and slide it around to the opening.

Easiest identification is to take address labels and fold them in half (with the backing still on) and write on both sides the name of the spice and the date. Then peel the backing away and stick it on one edge of the bag, so it sticks out like a tab on a file.

If you offset each one on the bags from top to bottom, you can just about see every one while the bags are on top of each other.

For many years I used this method to store my hundreds of pastels and found it was far neater than the open box method and saved me a lot of money by allowing me to see just what I had before going to the store to replace ones I had but couldn't find.

This is a good way to store whole spices and you can tuck a smaller bag inside with freshly ground spices. I often do this with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, etc., dating the ground spice bag as once ground they lose flavor quickly.

If you have a Smart & Final wholesale grocer near you, check to see if that store carries the snack size food grade heavyweight bags and the pint size freezer bags. They are much heavier than the regular freezer bags made by Glad, Hefty or Ziploc.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I use tins from Specialty Bottle like "Marinade" mentioned. They come in all sizes, and you can choose either clear or solid lids. Very prompt service. I got the same size as my Dean and DeLuca tins and stuck the labels on.

Stacked, organized and ready to cook :wink:

Burgundy makes you think silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them ---

Brillat-Savarin

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Adjustable clippies seem to be a good idea - no need to get rid of all existing jars & containers. Many of my containers are already glass, so not having to do a mass-transfer seems convenient. Anyone tried something like this?

I just also thought about having clear glass spices mounted on the wall - the light permeation could be a problem. What about putting them inside a medicine cabinet (preferably one without a mirrored door!) mounted in the kitchen?

Hmm. Great topic, btw. My poor spices are currently a little too near to the stove for my liking, and the cabinet with the overflow is too far away from the prep area.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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We use the jars available at Penzey's Spice House. I keep them in a drawer upside down, so that you can peer into the glass bottom, with small circular labels on them (handwritten on those little dots you can get at office stores). Lots of different sizes, too.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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this may seem a bit creepy, but i use my finished medication bottles.

They are amber, have tight fitting lids (ask for the non-child proof kind on your meds at your pharmacy), and if you are like me and get the big momma bottles with big mouths-- they are the perfect size...oh and of course they are free and you are recycling.

I think its funny, my friends think its a bit macabre...oh well :raz:

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this may seem a bit creepy, but i use my finished medication bottles.

They are amber, have tight fitting lids (ask for the non-child proof kind on your meds at your pharmacy), and if you are like me and get the big momma bottles with big mouths-- they are the perfect size...oh and of course they are free and you are recycling.

Nothing creepy about it. I started storing that way (old medicine bottles)before I gentrified the cabinet.

If you wanna raise an eyebrow or two at your next dinner party - store them in your medicine cabinet. Theirs always someone who's nosey. I'd even go as far as store a pair of chicken feet tied in a ribbon along with them. Wait for the guest who returns looking sort of pale and whisper "They're for medicinal purposes".

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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If you keep your spice bottles in a drawer with aids such as these, you don't need to have opaque containers.

Or

these.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I like to use pint or half pint aqua glass canning jars with canning jar lids to store my spices. They are readily available, and relatively inexpensive, and add a vintage look to the kitchen.

They are opaque enough to help with light infiltration, yet transparent enough to see inside. The lids seal out air well, and you can easily label them with adhesive office labels.

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One of my friends found some 1/2-pint canning jars with one-piece lids (instead of the lid-and-ring type) and screwed the lids to the underside of a cabinet in a row, back next to the wall. The jars were clear glass but she got a type of opaque glass paint (at a craft store) that is cured in the oven and dipped each jar in it up to the bottom of the screw threads.

She then painted on the name of the spice or herb on each one. The bulk herbs she keeps in Cambro containers in the freezer and just puts enough in the jars for immediate use.

It is very simple to grab a jar which releases from the lid with a 3/4 turn, they are out of the light and also in an opaque container.

I haven't been in her kitchen for a while, but I would guess she has at least 20 jars under the cabinet which is over her prep area.

I never thought of doing spices like this, however I have about 40 baby-food jars mounted the same way in my shed with screws, nuts, bolts, washers and other little things of various sizes to make them easier to find.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have one of those plastic step shelving things in my cabinet. (Kind of like stadium seating) It's not ideal but it works ok with my ordering method.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.as...10166667&RN=205

I've got spices/herbs in a pseudo-alphabetical order with the stuff I use the most in the front row. (cinnamon, ground cumin, cumin seed, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and vanilla are some of the items in the first row.)

The second row is for medium use stuff. I use the stuff in the back row about once every month or 2. Since each row is independently alphabetical, I kind of know which side of the cabinet to look at and I generally know which row I'm heading for.

One of the neatest things I've seen [in a book] is something that a chef did in his home kitchen. It involved putting up a set of those magnetic knife racks and then using magnetic tins. It looked cool and assumes that you've got big wall and nobody who likes to knock stuff down.

jayne

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I bought steel spice tins that have a wide mouth, with glass lid. They have a magnetic bottom which I place on a steel plate drilled into the wall...all in plain site. The more commonly used ones are place on my fridge wall. They hold very strong as the entire bottom is covered in magnet. The lids are tight and a twist one way give a sprinkle, a twist the other way gives a flow and a twist another way covers the hole (this is on the side of the lid.) Plus you can pop open the lid to put in the measuring spoon.

This cost me a bundle but I figure you can glue magnets to your existing container and a metal plate can be bought at a stationary shop. Or you can place them all on your fridge.

Quite handy because I don't have much cupboard space.

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  • 1 year later...

Old thread, and several good suggestions -- I don't know if these square tins with clear tops are new, but they're about as close to perfect as it gets for me I think. Cheap ($0.68 for 4oz, $0.88 for 8oz), almost square (I hate the space inefficiency of large round containers), and everything else the round tins offer.

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