Smart Spice Storage

There was a time, not so very long ago, that I was scared to death of spices. Not because I thought they were stalking me or bugging my phone, but because I didn't know anything about them. The only spices I ever really used were salt and pepper. (Boring, huh?)

Then I began trying recipes that called for seasonings I had never even heard of...and they were fantastic! With a little husbandly encouragement, I was off and running.

One of the first things I learned was that spices can be fickle little creatures. They can lose their flavor, they can cake together in their container, they can lose their color and even eventually lose their potency. So here's what I've discovered about keeping your spices fresh and useful.

* Keep your spices away from heat. If they become to warm, seasonings will lose their flavor much more quickly. Don't store them above the stove, next to the refrigerator or near the dishwasher. While it may seem more convenient, choose a spot away from your cooking area to preserve their whole flavor.

* Keep your spices away from moisture. Humidity can cause caking in some spices and flavor-loss in others. We've been told over the years that storing seasonings in the refrigerator will help them last longer, but the humidity level is too high and they'll just be old and ruined. Also keep them away from the sink area, for the same reasons.

* Keep your spices away from light. Think about leaving a piece of construction paper out in the sun. It won't take long before the color is so faded you can't tell what color it really used to be. The same goes with spices - bright light will fade both the color and the flavor of your currently vibrant seasonings.

* Keep your spices from getting too old. Do a regular check of the expiration dates on your seasonings and check the color and odor before you use them. Throw out any that have passed their date, faded, caked or smell funny. Then buy new, smaller amounts of the ones you use regularly.

* Keep your spices fresh by thinking small. The smaller the container, the more likely you'll be to use it up before its flavor fades. That great big bottle from the mega-store may seem like a great bargain, but not if it's too much to use up before it loses its potency.

* Keep your spices organized. Choose a cabinet, drawer or pantry away from heat, moisture and light. Consider spice drawers that are specially designed for this purpose, or store a spice rack inside a cabinet. Alphabetize them or put them in the order you use them most. Add a little shelf int he back so you can see them all. Use what works for you, but make sure their organized in a way that you'll use them and be able to tell when they've lost their usefulness.

Comments

  1. Awesome! so many people don't know about the ways to properly store spices. Spice rack company's haven't helped out much either with their big bulky on-the-counter racks.

    My Dad designed a spice bottle organizer for the kitchen cabinet, called the SpiceStack. It might be a good solutions for you. Check it out at SpiceStack.com. Happy Cooking!

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