You might store your spices in a cupboard, or you might store them on a rack, in a drawer, or on a shelf. In any case, it’s easy for the spices to get out of hand quickly, and it’s important to go through them periodically and clean out all the outdated ones.
It’s time to set your timer for 10 minutes. Get ready, and…
To begin with, you need to get rid of all the outdated spices. Spices don’t go bad in the typical sense, but they do lose their potency. Here’s a general guideline:
Whole spices (like cinnamon sticks or whole cloves) can last up to four years.
Ground spices can last up to 3 years. As long as they have retained their smell, they can still do their job, so if you’re in doubt, just shake ‘em up and give ‘em a good sniff test.
Green, leafy herbs don’t last quite as long as spices, typically only one or two years. There are two indicators that they’ve lost their flavor: color and smell. If they’re a pale green and have no fragrance when crushed, then they won’t add much to your dish, so it’s best to dump them out.
As you’re testing the potency of all your spices, notice if there are any duplicate containers. If so, consider either combining them or getting rid of (or giving away) one of the duplicates so as to make more room in your cupboard. Also, if you like to try out new recipes (and therefore new spices), but don’t always enjoy them (recipes or spices), you might want to gift other adventurous foodies in your life with the spices you know you’ll never use again. They’ll love it, and nothing will go to waste.
If you have purchased spices in bags (like the Badia brand, for example), now’s the time to pour them into more permanent storage, like an old glass jar. They’ll keep longer and make less of a mess that way.
That’s it! This was a pretty easy one, so if you still have time… read on.
If you have more wall space than cupboard or countertop space, then you can store your spices right on the wall in a style that fits your kitchen. If you like to upcycle and DIY, try something like this Silver Casserole Spice Rack . Or if you’re not a DIY-er, but you’d still like to keep it cheap, try some simple shelving and matching jars from IKEA like the ones pictured here . For an even cheaper option, find shelves and jars at yard sales and thrift stores! Or affix some sheet metal to the wall and use magnetic jars or other containers for spice storage with a contemporary look.
No wall space? (I feel ya!) Keep those spices organized in the depths of your cupboard by corraling them in containers like I did above. If you keep all the same-sized bottles together, it looks very put together and can be done as inexpensively as you wish. For example: baskets and wire shelving from the dollar store , a DIY lazy susan upcycled box , or just go with a manufactured drawer unit that fits into a shelf . My personal experience cautions me to recommend that you stay away from those tiered shelves – I had one of those and found that it was such a pain to reach the spices on the back shelf, especially if I wanted to avoid knocking over all the spices on the front shelves. I would recommend some kind of basket, drawer, or box that keeps the spices contained. That way, you can just pull out the drawer or box and select the spice you want without rummaging through the cupboard and making a mess of things in the process.
If your cupboards are maxed out, maybe you still have an available drawer! Spice bottles are actually the perfect size for drawer storage, so if you have an extra drawer, this might be the perfect solution. All you really have to do is simply lay the bottles in rows on their sides for easy access, as shown in this picture . But if you want to get fancy, you can pretty up some matching jars by painting and labeling the lids. Set them upright in the drawer so you can see the labels clearly.