Oct 14, 2013

Kitchen Organization: Keeping it Spicy

I was going to do a bigger project today -either cleaning out the fridge or pantry- but seeing as my kitchen now looks worse than yesterday, I decided to keep it lighter. So we're organizing spices.

When we first moved in I decided to utilize this weird space behind the oven as spice storage. I bought glass spice jars from World Market and Ikea so that they'd all look the same and be pretty.

But over the last few years I've significantly added to the spice collection and it's gotten a bit out of hand.

(Sorry for the blurry photos... I have no excuse other than the idea of using a tripod makes me want to gag.)

So I took everything out in all my spice hiding areas. (Yeah, I keep another bin in the pantry too.)

I whipped down the areas that were incredibly gross. This is definitely an area I need to improve my cleaning skills in.

At first I was kind of stumped as to where to begin. So I put spice mixes together and then alphabetized the regular spices.  Before putting your spices away take a minute to whip down the bottles (if you are like me and don't dust your spices!) and then open and sniff them. Do they smell like the spice it once was? If not, time to toss.

Some cooking experts will tell you that spices only have a shelf life of 3-6 months. There is truth in that, but most of us can't afford to replace all their spices 2-4 times a year. So I go by the sniff test. There were several spices I totally tossed out.

I started putting up the single spices on the wooden rack as it holds more. I decided on alphabetically because it's just easier for me to find coriander that way. The button shelf of this little rack is a little shorter so I used some clean, empty glass jars for these spices.  I'd really love to get some cute washi tape for labels, but that's not in the cards right now. So I used some thin post it notes for now.

Behind the stove I put my staples (olive oil, salt, and pepper) along with the blends (herbs de Provence, Greek and Italian, etc). It doesn't look great, but hey, it's more accessible.

Through this process I was able to empty some of the glass jars and after they get washed I might transfer the mixes to pretty jars. We shall see.

How do you store your spices?

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