Spice Storage and Tips

Have you noticed that your spices don’t spice up your food like they used to? Might be your storage methods need a tweak. Today I have a few spice storage tips, and a smart DIY project from the prolific and adorable Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess.

Magnetic Spice Containers

Smart spice storage - photo via A Beautiful Mess

My spice storage system, or lack thereof, is currently in need of a major overhaul. In a previous home, I had all of my spicy goodness packed away in glass IKEA jars, neatly lined up in a hanging IKEA rack. These days, I need a kick in the ass to get everything tidied up a bit.

Elsie and Emma over at A Beautiful Mess made some beautiful little magnetic spice containers that I really need to make a few dozen of. Read on for Elsie’s tutorial, and a few tips for getting the best spices to put in them.

A good start, but my "must have spices" include about 40 items. I may have a problem - photo via a Beautiful Mess

  1. Find the right containers. Spices are volatile little compounds, meaning when they hit oxygen, light and heat, they begin to break down quickly. For your day-to-day use containers, go small. Elsie found hers here, but the one I just linked to seem to be the smallest clear-top one on the site.
  2. Have backup containers. If you have spices in larger quantities than will fit in the small containers, check out these airtight spice container options. Keep them tucked away in a cool, dark, dry place, and they will have a much longer shelf life.
  3. Buy the good stuff. I love My Spice Sage, but there are so many wonderful online spice purveyors to check out, definitely shop around. The spices you find in the supermarket are not regulated by the FDA, so you have no idea how long they have been sitting there, getting their goodness compounds broken down by the light before you buy them.
  4. Buy whole and grind. If you grind your coffee every day, as I do, please do your mouth a favor and start grinding your spices too. Just not in the same grinder. They’re dirt cheap, you can have two, and never cross the streams, so to speak. Up the ante by toasting and cooling spices before cooking with them. Trust me, you will never go back.
  5. Keep them safe. I know, it seems logical to keep spices above the stove, right in reach from where you need them most. Please don’t do this. The heat, more than any of the other flavor-destroying elements, will degrade your spices very quickly.

Do you have any great spice storage tips? Any favorite online spice purveyors? Do you grind and toast your spices yourself? Let’s hear them in the comments!

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  1. […] wrote a post a little over a year ago with my tips for buying, storing and using spices, and I have finally […]