What does your spice cupboard look like?
Are salt and pepper the main two items you use to "spice up" your foods? Or do you have a few basic "go to" spices in addition, like cinnamon, basil, Italian seasoning, or crushed red pepper flakes?
Or are you a spice fanatic like me, with over 65 spices and herbs in my cupboard at any given moment?
What's with that?
Who would want to have to deal with so many spices in their kitchen? Um, me! :)
For over 20 years now, I've mainly used a lazy Susan to organize my spices in my kitchen cupboard. About 8 years ago, I expanded and added one of those tiered stairstep shelf systems that sit in the cupboard - about $10. That worked for a while, until one day I realized my spices were not "in order", not ALPHABETIZED very well anymore...maybe because we now have four "chefs" in our kitchen, ya' think?
In some discussions with friends on Facebook and the internet in the last year or so, people have been surprised to learn that some of us actually ALPHABETIZE our spices.
Or maybe it's just my twin sister and me that do this?
Why in the world? Are we majorly OCD and must alphabetize everything in our home?
Um - no. But since I have so many spices in one location, I don't want to spend more than 3-4 nanoseconds to look for the specific spice I need at the moment. I want to be able to grab it and get on with making dinner!
I decided that today was the day to correct the messy spice cupboard. Well, it wasn't messy at all - just unorganized.
I pulled out all of the spices and herbs and set them on the kitchen counter in little groups, alphabetizing them as I went along.
I decided to try to organize the spices without the lazy Susan two-tiered rack...because when I brought down the stairstepped rack from the cupboard, I realized that I had only been using half of it! The other half was neatly tucked inside it. I do remember now that there were two long sections of it, but since I only needed one of them at the time, I "hid" the other half underneath to keep it out of the way.
After thoroughly cleaning the shelves in that cupboard, I looked closely at the spice bottles. There were a few spices and seasonings where I had more than one container of each spice...thus, one of the reasons it was time to reorganize the spices. In a few cases, I was able to pour the contents of one spice into the second bottle, so I could recycle the empty bottle and give myself more room in this cupboard. Yeah!
Then, I placed the spice bottles back into the cupboard, onto the stairstep rack, in alphabetical order.
Remember the 3-4 nanoseconds? Good. Because that will keep you from thinking I'm completely insane.
After admiring my handiwork, I realized that because most spice labels are toward the bottom of each spice jar, they're not easily seen.
Uh-oh! Now it will take more than 3-4 nanoseconds to find the spice I need! Gulp!
So I decided I'd get out our little labeling machine, an older Brother PT-66 P-Touch Home & Hobby tape label do-hicky. I printed out labels for almost every spice bottle and placed the label near the top of each lid or bottle.
Maybe that is a little bit OCD, but I still want to be able to grab the spice and get busy with it, not have to pick up 10 jars to find the one I want.
If you like peering into people's cupboards and playing psychologist, trying to figure out what they're like based on what you see in the cupboards, here's what you can probably tell about me from the photo, above:
1. I'm not a brand loyalist. I've got spices from Penzey's (mail order), from a favorite restaurant (Hungarian paprika from Europe), organic spices, non-organic spices, Spice Islands, McCormick, Private Selection from Fred Meyer (store brand), and others. I'm not sure what that says about me as a person, but it helps to prove that I'm not completely OCD. :)
2. Sometimes, I'll spend more money on spices (saffron from Penzey's) or not pay much at all (refilling spice jars from bulk spices at the grocery store).
3. I'm not completely OCD...because you'll notice that some of the labels went onto the jars a bit crooked - and I'm okay with that. :)
There were a few types of jars that had curved necks and flat, thin lids that wouldn't hold a label, so I had to press the label onto the neck of the bottle. I didn't like the way it bubbled up as I pressed the label down, so the next time I need that particular spice, I'll go ahead and purchase a new bottle with a better-shaped neck and lid.
And in the future, I'm going to attempt to replace some of my old plastic spice/herb bottles with glass jars, since we're trying to use less plastic around our foods.
I also noticed that those spice/herb plastic containers that are half the size of some of the other spices? Well, they're not possible to read at all, even with labels near the lids. They're just too short to be seen above the next row of spices. So, in the future, I'll be replacing those small herb containers with the regular, taller spice jars.
Just to dispel any incorrect assumptions about the way I cook: no, I don't use every spice regularly. There are many that I do use regularly, but there are some that I use infrequently or even rarely. But without their unique flavors, the foods I enjoy cooking just wouldn't taste the same!
How have you chosen to organize your spices? Are you a 1-2 spice kind of cook, or do you have too many to count? Or do you think to yourself, "What are spices?" :)
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
Search Joy In Our Journey.com:
Most Viewed on Joy In Our Journey: