Recently, a neighbor asked my opinion on how to best organize the spices in her kitchen. It's a question I get quite often so one afternoon over lunch with some very savvy ladies, I decided to bring up the subject.
Muy caliente! What a hot button!
Who knew spice organization and storage was such a big deal? I did. And here's why; Seems spice companies and grocery stores are deeply involved in some sort of covert spice conspiracy coercing us to purchase our favorite flavorings from a variety of suspects.
Ever notice that the one spice you need for a special recipe surly must be held a hostage from the company that most of your other spices came from? If you simply must have it, you're forced to purchase it from another spice supplier who packages it's products in a completely differently shaped bottle, jar or can.
Often this complicated operation forces us to toss the new herbs container and sometimes some of it's contents! simply because it doesn't fit into an often constrained spice storage system. Seems criminal to me.
However with some smart sleuthing there is a solution to this often unsolved mystery. Here are a few tips;
• Whenever possible purchase spices in bulk
• Hunt down a just right sized container to fit in either a designated drawer, pantry shelf or countertop tray. I like this clear glass jar for less than a dollar each at http://tinyurl.com/yhoubjv
• Stick with your system and add containers as needed.
• Share spices with a neighbor. If you have a bit too much to fit in your jar – pass it on.
• Label jars with small round stickers from an office supply store or use a PTouch labeler. http://tinyurl.com/ybg96rv
• Store spices alphabetically
A well-thought out system along with a bit of detective work will solve this riddle once and for all. It's simply elementary, my dear!
This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on April 25, 2010