How long has it been since you’ve taken inventory of your spice cabinet? It’s okay if it’s been forever; it is easy to lose track of how old your spices are. However, refreshing your spice cabinet can make a huge difference in the quality of dishes you make. With the biggest cooking holidays quickly approaching, this time of year is an optimal time for this task.
“But spices are so expensive!”
You’re correct, they are; especially the higher quality ones. If refreshing your spices is not a financially viable option for you right now, by all means, wait! Utilize budget-friendly food options, and wait until you are more financially stable to tackle this non-essential task.
If you can fit it into your budget, however, there is a money-conscious reason to update your spices: fresh, higher quality spices are stronger than their cheaper counterparts, meaning you actually need less of them when you’re cooking. They’re going to stretch further. So if you are in a position to make the investment in refreshing your spices, it’s worth considering.
Another point to consider: the space in your home has value. If your spice cabinet is cluttered with bottles you use infrequently – or, if you’re like me, never even opened! – ask yourself if it is worth the space it is taking in your kitchen. If the answer is no, it’s okay to let it go.
Our Spice Cabinet Refresh
Several months ago, I took inventory of our spices, noticing how many bottles were years past their best-by dates, and in some cases, still unopened. Since we had the time and resources to do it properly at the time, I decided to completely overhaul my entire collection.
After quite a bit of research, I decided to focus my restock efforts on three spice companies: Morton & Bassett, Flavor God, and Spicewalla. I signed up for their respective email lists and waited patiently. Once each of them had a decent sale, I placed my sizable orders. It was like Christmas opening so many large boxes of brand new, delicious, fragrant spices!
I chose Morton & Bassett for most of the spices. They are a reputable company that doesn’t use fillers. Also, their sizeable and attractive glass bottles are offered at local grocery stores, making replacements easy to obtain. I couldn’t afford to buy the organic option of every spice I ordered, but it’s a start! I also really like the Litehouse freeze-dried herbs, as well. I put freeze-dried chives on almost everything I make!
For blends, however, I chose Spicewalla and Flavor God. I was impressed with the quality, transparency, and expertise I saw in these companies. I’d heard great things about Flavor God, and I appreciate that Spicewalla specializes in East Indian blends and recipes, a flavor family with which I need guidance. The other spice blends I have include several from Trader Joe’s, as well as good ole Old Bay Seasoning. But seriously, how much fun are these canisters?!
Spice Cabinet Organization
Since this is an area of my home I access multiple times every single day, I set up my spice cabinet for ease of use. I chose the cabinet adjacent to my cooktop, on the same side as my dominant hand (ie if you’re right handed, put it just to the right of your stove). I also set up these Container Store expandable, three-tiered spice trays on each shelf to make better use of the available vertical space.
The lowest shelf is eye-level for me, so that’s where I store all my most commonly-used spices. Some people lay them out alphabetically, which is a great idea if that’s how your mind works. However, I organized mine based on habit. Namely where each bottle has lived throughout the past decade of cooking, because I know that is where I’m going to go looking for it. I also use this shelf for our commonly-used butter dish, salt cellar (yes, I use a Ball jar; it works great!), and Himalayan salt and pepper grinders.
The next shelf up is organized into three areas. One side holds the spices that I don’t grab as often. Next to those are the blends. That left a narrow space that is perfectly sized to fit cans of avocado oil.
Finally, the top shelf is up so high, I need a step-stool to reach it. So it holds all the items I don’t need to access often at all. These include my back-stock of Litehouse herbs, as well as my various salts and peppers.
DISCLAIMER: It’s perfectly fine if your collection is nowhere near as large as mine. I make every meal I eat, every single day, and cooking is an interest of mine. This isn’t a typical home spice cabinet!
I’m curious: how do you organize your spice cabinet? Share your photo in the comments below or on our social media!
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