Inspiration Friday: Spice storage

It’s Friday morning and my brain is already convinced it’s the weekend. As a result, I’m just going to throw a little inspiration your way and set off to find some pie (it is Pi day, after all: 3/14).

Today’s inspiration comes from The Wall Street Journal, which includes a profile of chef Nick Kokonas’s home in the article “A High-Powered Home Kitchen in Chicago.” Gastronomy aficionados will enjoy the article, and anyone with a home kitchen will drool over the corresponding photographic slideshow.

By far, my favorite part of the profile is the peek into Kokonas’s spice storage cupboards:

Image by Callie Lipkin for The Wall Street Journal.

How do you store your spices? I’m thinking I need to completely redo my spice storage this weekend. It looks nothing like this. Sigh. Thanks to chef Kokonas for having such an inspiring kitchen.

16 Comments for “Inspiration Friday: Spice storage”

  1. posted by DinaCheney on

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart! I’m a cookbook author and magazine food writer, and had to get my spices in order. Ultimately, I ordered jars and labels, and then set about making an in-drawer solution. You can see the results here:

    Two months later it’s still working well!

  2. posted by Leslie R. on

    That is a pretty cool spice storage area. Ours are in a beautiful spinning spice rack that sits next to the stove, but the containers and the rack get so greasy! I would love to have a door to close to keep them clean.

    I like your solution, too, Dina!

  3. posted by erica on

    I have about 80 spices on hand and have actually used every single one of them in the past 6 months. I purchased dozens of matching jars at the Container Store and use a label maker to put the name of the spice and date purchased/ground/mixed on the lid. All spice jars are stored in drawers in alphabetical order.

  4. posted by Carol on

    I love the idea of a spice drawer with the labels on top.

    All my spices are jumbled in a over the door wire rack on the inside of my clothes closet (which is unfortunately in the kitchen).

  5. posted by Trina Grant on

    My sweet hubby is currently making a spice rack for me out of a small pallet from his work. He still has to stain and poly it.

  6. posted by Pat on

    I’m not sure about the one in the picture; I’ve always read not to keep your spices near a heat source. I keep mine in short metal tins. They two drawers now.

  7. posted by JC on

    Like Pat has said, the best way to store herbs and spices are in a cool dark space, no matter how absolutely awesome some storage systems look. Spices don’t go bad, but they do lose strength over time. Exposure to heat speeds this process. I have a large variety of spices, unfortunately in different type/size containers. They are stored alphabetically in three plastic bins on a shelf in the pantry. Eventually I will get a prettier more standardized system, but this works for me.

  8. posted by Erin Doland on

    @JC — If you look at all the images, you can see these cupboards close (providing the darkness) and they’re set back pretty far from the heat source. With that giant vent above the stove, my guess is those spices never get warmer than they would anywhere else in the room.

  9. posted by kath on

    I have a pull out pantry in my kitchen and for while it was difficult to find whatever spices I was looking for so I just took a sharpie pen and wrote the name of the spice on the top of the jar.It makes it so much easier to find what I need, and I didn’t have to spend any money to do it. I wish I had a special place for spices but since I don’t, this works just fine.

  10. posted by Julie on

    I have used a two-level lazy-susan inside a cupboard for years, and love it. I don’t actually mind that all my jars are different as it helps me to recognize what I need quickly, and as they are hidden away it doesn’t matter aesthetically that they don’t match.

  11. posted by Gypsy Packer on

    I actually use the “as seen on TV” swivel shelves in my minuscule space. They were on at a ridiculously low price for eight swivel units but only 20 jars. I use 6, gifted 2. I purchased a template for WWII era jar labels from Etsy. Some proprietary jars fit the racks, and more came from eBay. Total space: 9 1/2″ x 16 1/4″ x 10 5/8″ for 60 jars. The shelves are a little flimsy so I handle them with care.

  12. posted by AinOakPark on

    As a renter in a very small apartment, I have quite a few spices, and store the ones I don’t often use, in plastic boxes, stacked in a high cupboard. The ones I use often are in their original packaging (unless it came in a bag – then I transfer it to another container) in an open dishpan on one of the shelves, since I don’t have an extra drawer for them. I just take out the dishpan and select what I need,then slide the dishpan back onto the shelf. Not high tech, not deluxe, but it works for me.

  13. posted by Michele Laughlin on

    I use quite a bit of spice in my cooking so I have one drawer full of the spices I use the most (glass jars and labeled with dates) and a spice pantry with the others that are used less often. I know, I’m wierd. They are labeled, sorted by sweet and savory and blends- all salts and peppers are on separate shelves. I check them all every 3 months and relabel with dates 🙂 I LOVE for small pouches of FRESH spices!
    I do pick up glass jars at Cost Plus World Market at a very good price 🙂

  14. posted by Janice Dickson on

    Many years ago my creative husband made a spice “rack” which hangs on the wall. A clear sheet of plexiglass holds 9 rows of 7 across plexiglas tubes cut and glued to the base. Each cut tube holds a spice bottle with a label on the bottom. It’s a work of art that has received many compliments, and it has worked for me for many years. Recently I saw something similar on an upscale shopping site for over $150.

  15. posted by Diana Poisson on

    My husband and I just cleaned out our two spice shelves last weekend. We ended up tossing about 1/2 of the spices into the garbage because they were several years past their expiration date and we knew they wouldn’t be used again. It’s so nice having more room on the shelves now. Looks better and we can find specific spices quickly now.

  16. posted by RosemaryRiveter on

    We installed 3 spice shelves on the wall above our stove and bought several identical dark blue spice jars and a set of labels with colours that go with our decor. The space is 48″ and the shelves we picked are 24″ long, so half the space is a pair of shelves one above the other, the other half is a single shelf level with the lower of the pair & nothing above to hold the pepper grinder and bottles of oils and sauces so everything it easy grabbing reach from the stove. I know it’s not absolutely ideal to have things stored where they can get heat from the stove top, so we keep less-frequently used things in the cupboard, and only bottles of things we go through quickly – like olive oil) go on the side for tall bottles.

    Speaking of spices, I have been very pleased with our camping gear solution for spices: we bought three refillable spice grinders from IKEA and put rock salt, pepper, and a herb/spice mix in them. They live in the basic camp kitchen box so we never go camping without them.

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