Spices are essential in cooking. They make everything so much more flavorful. They are also expensive!
We have the coolest spice cupboard ever and it cost a fraction of what you would think. How did we do it?
- The Bulk Barn (or equivalent) is your best friend. See those little teeny jars in the upper right corner of the first picture. Those (jars*) were mine from my apartment when we first were married. They cost anywhere from $3 to $7 for a little jar in the grocery store. I can fill a mason jar for a fraction of the cost at the bulk store. Sometimes, depending on the spice, it is pennies for the amount I want to purchase!
- Invest in mason jars. Depending on the number of spices you stock and the quantities you go through, you can get the 125, 250, 500ml containers or of course, 1 and 1.5L. These are easy to see into and easy to label. They are more customizable, wash better and are much cheaper than dollar store plastics and will last you much longer.
- Label, Label, Label. Do you ever look at something wondering. “what is this?!?”. We’ve done that a lot, whether it be freezer items or cupboard items. Whatever it is, label it. Paper with tape over it, permanent marker or a professional labeler all do the job. My DH bought me a labeler for Christmas one year. At first I thought he was a little crazy but I have used it for so much. He also got it for an unbelievable price using a sale and coupons.
Proper storage extends the life of your spices!
Air tight is right!
Cool, Dark Place – heat humidity and light can all contribute to flavor loss. Avoid storing above your stove or in the fridge.
Shelf Life – Ground spices last about a year. Whole spices about 3-5 years. These are just ‘recommended’ time frames. With proper storage (sealed, cool, dry place), I’ve used my spices much longer. They don’t go ‘bad’, they simply loose flavor.
If possible, grind your own spices just prior to use. They’ll be fresher and more flavorful!
Now I would like to take credit for this fabulous cupboard but, alas, it was my incredibly brilliant husband who came up with and implemented it. I do, however, take full credit for the fabulous labels on everything! What a dynamic duo we make!