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Show me your spice storage!

Posted by purrus (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 22:02

Drawer, rack, pull-outs... what's the best? I have tons of spices and need a smart solution in my new kitchen. Right now, the KD has included a skinny pullout thing by the range. I'm unsure about this... I want to be sure I can really access everything and see it really clearly since right now a major issue is that I can't easily get to what i have so I end up not using it.

Pictures would be great, but tales of what you love or hate would be fine as well. Thanks!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Show me your spice storage!

Here's what my KD has suggested:

 photo spice2_zps6a54c048.jpg

 photo spice1_zps1e0a6d4a.jpg

in one of the skinny cabs next to the range in this pic:

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My cabinet maker is putting one of these next to the stove.

Here is a link that might be useful: spice door


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RE: Show me your spice storage!

Lots of ideas in this thread...

Here is a link that might be useful: How do you store a large collection of spices?


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the spice drawer is an awesome idea, but next to the stove / oven is not the best plan. Spices in a storage like that will deteriorate and lose flavor with temperature extremes.

I love that drawer, but would put it elsewhere. Unless of course you use your spice collection pdq. Also, that is A lot of spice storage, I would love to see what you are cooking!


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Not what you are looking for...but it may give others ideas.I use airtight stainless steel spice tins to hold Indian spices, the rest go in jars in the cupboard(I reuse marmalade, caper, pickle jars etc.)


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Personally, I wouldn't want spices where I'd have to bend down close to the floor to see what I was selecting. Anything at top drawer or above counter would be my choice. Like the spices on the door, though that wouldn't be enough for me...have to have at least 2 doors!


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We recessed a shallow 6" deep cabinet into the wall for our spices.

This post was edited by willtv on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 9:08


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My rack is mounted on the side of a cabinet near my prep area.
Excuse the dirty dishes in the background.

spice rack 1 photo IMG_0535_zps37d6d598.jpg


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Mine isn't nearly as flashy as many of these, but it works enough for me that we decided to keep the same storage solution in the "new" kitchen. We have a small drawer with an angled drawer rack for the spices we use every day and then a pull-down spice organizer (that I love) for the less used spices. I can fit 18 tall, skinny spice jars in that.

I bought it from The Container Store but it's made by Rubbermaid so I bet it's available elsewhere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pull-down spice rack


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wi-sailor--I saw that and considered it but I don't have enough wide top drawers(only 1).

Ljwrar--YOURS is the best. Love those antique jars. Can you suggest where to buy them other than e----bay.
thanks.


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Recessed a couple shelves in the wall behind the counter top.


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Eatrealfood, your spice tins remind me of the spice carts in South American food markets. Just beautiful!

I found the jars on ebay and etsy and in antique stores. I did not want the lids or labels so I looked for the cheaper ones with those things missing. Then I bought new lids and made new labels for the spices I use.


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Mine was stolen from here. I love having them in a drawer.

 photo spicedrawer_zps94ba8622.jpg


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I have an entire cupboard for spices - to the right of the stove.

They are in the original containers, or in recycled jelly jars or whatever it fits into. I'm such a failure as a kitchen creator: I cut out the original label from the bag or box and tape it to the jelly jar.

They are mostly on turntables: the closest one to the stove has the most often used things, the rest are sorted by what they get used in: baking, main dishes, curry, chili powders ... and the top shelf has the bulk things like Kosher salt and cocoa.


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I wanted a pull-out like you are looking at. I didn't have enough room in my layout. So I'm getting a cabinet like Annkh's photo. I know it will be better than my current set-up (well previous since it's been torn out now). I plan on getting rid of most of what I took out of the cabinet because I know it's out of date. I'll buy smaller containers to replace so hopefully that will help me with organization!


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I don't like to reach down for spices when I cook. The two cabs flanking the range are both used for spices. We have them on lazy susans, along with things like olive oil, soy sauce, etc. The doors lift up, and can stay up during cooking for easy access if we want. It works well for us.


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Look at the door racks oldbat2be's husband made. I think she linked to her photobucket pix in her most recent reveal thread. I seriously want to duplicate them to augment my other spice storage.


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I am really thinking that I'll just have two skinny cabs for sheet pans and muffin tins and cutting boards, and put my spices in the uppers to the right of the range. I might use one of those awesome pull-down racks some of yuo have or I might ask if they can do a door rack like annkh has (I just want to make sure it will fit my sixty or so bottles though, so I'd probably need to do that in two doors or more).

I'd love to use a drawer, but I just don't think I can give up one of the long shallow drawers by the range, which I'm going to use to house all of my cooking utensils and knives. I don't know, though, whether that's too much space allotted for my cooking utensils.

I think what I have decided is that I don't like the idea of getting down on the floor for my spices.


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What I really want, of course, is to build an antique library card catalog into the wall and use that for spice storage. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Do those of you who use the stair-step things in your cabinets have issues with spices falling down every time you get something off of one of the back steps? That's what I envision happening to me.


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I use a stairstep thing for my canned goods, and I do move the front ones out before I go for back things, so I don't know how it would work for me for spices. Maybe the spice ones are steeper.

This is what I have.
 photo P2030327.jpg


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sasafras, I beg to differ. I have had my spices in the top drawer of the one of two drawer stacks between my double ovens and rangetop (my "baking zone"). I have used the cooktop and ovens as high as 450-500 degrees and checked for heat in any of the drawers. There just isn't. I am more likely to get heat in the upper above that area due to the undercabinet lighting, but even that is minimal and I put my measuring cups and prep bowls on the lowest shelf to make sure I don't get any product deterioration. Been using them coming up on 7 years now. Hands down, the best system for storing and actively using spices, extracts and baking supplies I've ever had and probably the freshest they have kept.


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Ginny20, I love the looks of that huge door of spices!!! Gorgeous!


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Thanks! It wasn't an original idea - it was one of the great features the PO had put in my old kitchen, so I showed it to my cabmaker and asked him to create something comparable. Like most people probably do, I keep all the bottles in roughly alphabetical order so I can find things easily.


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If you search around, you'll find a new threads on some storage. Here's one.

Here is a link that might be useful: One since storage thread


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I store mine in a drawer, thanks to Lascatx. The thread Elwydee posted at 22:29 was immensely helpful for me.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is by far the best way I've found to store spices. My drawer is located immediately next to my rangetop. Heat does not escape into the drawer at all. One of those narrow pullouts next the the range where I can to get down on my knees to find a jar would drive me bonkers, bonkers, bonkers.

With this drawer system, I can see everything very quickly from a standing position, access to pull out and put away a tin is easy, the tins nest nicely, and it's easy to see if I'm getting low on something when I go to the store. I've even taken a tin or two to the Coop and refilled it directly from the bulk container without having to use a plastic bag for purchase. (Bulk spices are so much cheaper anyway.). And, I just think those little, inexpensive tins are the cutest little things!


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Loving these ideas. We enjoy cooking ethnic food and finding space and organization for all our spices is a challenge in our current kitchen.


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I put my spices in one place and herbs in another on the theory that spices generally get used for baking and herbs for cooking.

The spices are in a top drawer under the peninsula because mixing for baking generally happens on the peninsula. So easy to locate the cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, etc. I also keep small containers of sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour there. Just last night I needed 1 tsp of sugar for chili and it's so easy to get it from that small container rather than go to the pantry and open the 5 lb container. The measuring cups and spoons also ended up in that drawer.

Herbs go on the bottom shelf of the upper next to the stove. This includes the large salt container and stuff like bouillon cubes and soy sauce. Unlike the drawer, I can't see what's on the bottom shelf past the things in front, so I got one of these for the dill, oregano, etc.

The salt and larger/taller things sit next to it. If I don't immediately see what I want, I just pull the container out and have a look. Love these things. I have a square one in another cupboard for all the vitamins and stuff.


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When I brought up the idea of getting all those cool little tins and making my life look so organized, my dh said, can't you just do it without spending any more money? I still have hopes of the small tins someday!

But for now this is how it is, and I must say it is a million times better than when I kept them in a cabinet, even with them on those little "spice stairs".


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Thank you for this post! What wonderful ideas!


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Bee--I would argue with your DH's logic. :) Those bottles of spices you buy off the shelf at the store will cost you more in the long run than will buying the tins at 87 cents a piece and refilling with a less expensive bulk spice. The convenience factor of using these uniformly sized tins that are so easy to pop in and out is HUGE for me. Well worth a few bucks that I can save elsewhere in the overall cost of the new kitchen.


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I am about to start my kitchen reno and my KD recommended a pull out spice rack to the right of the oven. Reading this thread has made me reconsider to putting the spices in the top drawer of a bottom cabinet, possibly in small tins. They will be more visible in the cabinet and there is no unnecessary bending to reach for a spice. Interesting topic and valuable information!


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I wanted to store ours lid-up like breezy's, and had two drawers made deep enough to hold those jars, but we ended up getting a free insert in one of the drawers, and the spices/herbs lie on their sides. I admit, it is very pretty to see them all when we open the drawer. Our other spice drawer just has cheap dividers, and this is for bulk spices and awkward sizes of bottles.

This is not the neatest, but we love it!


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Here is my Spice Stack - I wanted something that would take standard jars.
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I did IKEA jars in my top 33" wide drawer. I buy almost all of my organic spices in bulk which has in the long run, been very affordable. I have a small kitchen and I do all of my prep/chopping right above the drawer and I love just opening the drawer, pulling out what I need, using what I need, then putting it back in all without really even moving. No bending and it keeps my small counter clear!

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I copied Breezygirl's spice drawer and love it. It is one of my favorite things in my new kitchen. Everyone is impressed when they see it. I don't think I ever thanked you for the inspiration Breezygirl....so many thanks!


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I would like to do the spices in a drawer thing too…. Now, I need to decide on which containers and I need to learn how to buy spices in bulk instead of the tiny bottles I purchase at the grocery store.

Do you keep you bulk spices in the freezer? Do they last a long time?


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Our small local market has a section of bulk herbs in bins. You scoop out what you want into a little plastic bag. The nice thing is that you don't have to buy more than you'll use in a reasonable amount of time.


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Great thread!

I want Ginny20's set up! A whole pantry devoted to spices, oils, vinegars, condiments, etc. Yeah!

I like all those items together too. Currently my spices take up 2 shelves in my pantry, some on turntables or in storage baskets, grouped by purpose in some cases. It's a mishmash, but it works.
I had the pretty little spice tins for awhile, but it bugged me that I still had to deal with storing the leftovers that didn't fit in the tin, couldn't fit them all in one place, some spices didn't fit in the tin at all, and the one offs messed up my perfection so I went back to my original set up. Plus I had to keep them in a cabinet and they were hard to see. However I prefer them at eye level rather than to have to bend to get them.


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I buy from the bulk bins at my local food coop (organic) or grocery down the road. You can scoop spices into a little plastic bag, or sometimes you can bring your own container, like at my coop, and scoop directly into that. I only buy small amounts at a time so I don't have to worry about something losing freshness. I cook from scratch daily and go through a lot of spices, but I still have dried marjoram leaves from about three years ago. Guess I don't use that much except for T'day stuffing.


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A drawer to the left of the range. The drawers do not get hot when the oven in running. To the right of the range is my garbage/recycling pullout! So, thankfully enuff, they are well insulated and do not heat up. I love my spice drawer. It is super convenient. I prep to the right of the range.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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Spices in drawers is every bit as convenient as everything else in drawers!

Instead of buying special tins or bottles, I have been buying Simply Organic spices at the grocery store because the bottle is so pretty. They have flat sides so I lay them down in the drawer. The spice name is on the lid too but it's hard to read. I refill them with bulk spices. Whole Foods is one store that sells them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Simply Organic


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I went to buy 2 bay leaves from the local store. I was tired of old brown bay leaves. The clerk looked at the bag and said it was free as no way to weigh such a small amount, so maybe bulk is good- LOL and a true story - the Irish stew was awesome!


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Sas95 your kitchen is lovely. Did you do a final reveal? If so can you repost your link here so I can find it? Thanks!


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A2--that's happened to me several times before! I'll take free!


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Breezy girl and others who've done the drawers with small matching tins-- where did you find the tins?


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Island, my kitchen reveal thread is here.


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Breezy - sure thing "sis" - I wasn't about to argue!


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This used to be a hollow column, that formed one wall of the range alcove. We demoed that area and made better use of the space. The other side is for trays. I love it.

 photo SpicePullout_zps2136b1a6.jpg


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The upper cabinet next to the cooktop has a stair step arrangement that DH made for me out of left over wood. It allows me to store most of my herbs and spices in a reasonably orderly and viewable way, yet has the space to add more if I need to...I keep them lined up alphabetically.


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Sas- Wow your kitchen is beautiful! Thanks for the link.


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Mine are on the inside doors of my pantry cupboards, in square steel tins that stick to magnetic tape. There are more attractive and high-rent ways of accomplishing the same thing. If you cook with a lot of spices, it's a blessing to be able to locate and get access to them at a glance.

An additional advantage of that location here is that the pantry wall doesn't have a radiator run, so it's a cooler part of the kitchen. Spices really have their useful life shortened when near steam and heat -- and light.

This location wouldn't work as well for a cook who uses seasonings improvisationally. I'm a mise-en-place cook -- get everything out and prepped before starting to cook -- and the pantry's right beside a worktable (my "island"/peninsula) where I can extract the amount I need and re-store with a minimum of movement and scrambling around.


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Purrus--The tins are from Specialty Bottle. They sell lots of other cool bottles and tins, too. Most of what's visible in my open drawer pic are the 4 oz tins. I have several 8 oz tins in the back for larger spices like bay leaves and star anise pods and for spices I use in large quantities like chili powder and cinnamon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Specialty bottle clear lid tins


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I have two 9" pullouts on either side of the stove, one for spices and one for baking stuff.

It stays nicely organized. But you have to bend down to see the spices on the 2nd and 3rd or 4th tiers.

The spices don't get hot. I was worried about that.

In my old kitchen I had two pull out shelves in a base cabinet. that wasn't much better.


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Purrus, Breezy has tins. I have bottles. I loved the tins, but the jars fit more into drawer. If I had a 36" drawer like some of the ones shown, I think I'd have done tins too, but you can get both at Specialty Bottle. We buy the larger tins for dry rubs that we make.

Other sources for bulk spices include Penzey's and The Spice House. I used to buy some in stores when we were living in CA, but when we moved here, none of the area stores offered them, I had already ordered from Penzey's, so pretty much everything comes from Penzey;s now.

A2, another option for bay leaves -- grow your own. I have a bay laurel outside my kitchen that was a tiny twig with a few leaves when I got it. I think it was $2. Now it's about 12-15 feet now and I haven't bought bay leaves in years. Nor have several friends. I pruned it once and had over 200 leaves. . They said it would be a bush --hahaha, I understand they can be grown in pots in colder climates. Or if you want to keep it smaller. Either way, you can have them fresh or dried anytime.

This post was edited by lascatx on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 23:53


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lasc - wow - I will have to check into growing my own! I do grow a few herbs - my basil is popping in my garden window.


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Lascatx's recommendation to grow bay laurel is an excellent tip for cooks living in climates where the shrub can overwinter in the ground. It's even worthwhile for cooks in zone 7-and-colder who use bay leaves often enough to make it worth being vigilant against scale for the half of the year that the potted plant is indoors. Nothing beats fresh or freshly dried herbs.

As long as they're the real thing; that's another important advantage of growing your own that I just recently learned about. It seems that a lot of what is sold in markets as fresh bay leaves are from a different plant -- similar in looks, but with a much, much stronger and less pleasing taste. Seattle chef Jerry Traunfeld (of Herbfarm) spells it out:

:: Bay laurel leaves come from the tree Laurus nobilis, known as Turkish bay or sweet bay. California bay leaves also come from a large tree, the totally unrelated Umbellularia californica. There is some similarity in the scent but California bay is ten times stronger than bay laurel, and if you substitute it in a recipe calling for bay laurel you will ruin the dish with its overpowering flavor.

The shocking thing is that when you buy fresh bay leaves in the supermarket, nine times out of ten they are California bay, even though they don't say that on the label.

... When you tear or crush a bay laurel leaf you will smell a mild, sweet, nutmeglike scent, whereas a California bay leaf will smell powerfully of menthol and petroleum overtones :: p.79, The Herbal Kitchen (Wm. Morrow, 2005)

The page includes a helpful photo of the leaves of the true bay and the imposter side by side. The bay laurel leaf edge curls a bit; while the California bay's edge is completely smooth; it's also just a bit narrower overall than a typical bay laurel leaf, and darker green.

Now I realize why I've been so unhappy with the results of cooking with "fresh bay leaves" from a local greenhouse grower unless I use only a quarter leaf.


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My spices are in a cabinet on the side of the oven cabinet.


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These are Ikea picture ledges and spice jars (4 for $3.99).

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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Oops - I already posted this above, so removed it. Must have been tired...

This post was edited by a2gemini on Tue, May 7, 13 at 7:59


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