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I found a very cool spice carousel for 50 cents at a thrift store. I had never seen one with the cavity in the middle for utensils. But, when I got it home, my spice jars wouldn't fit. And, neither would many of the ones in the store I could afford, even if I didn't have them already at home. One brand did fit but they were $3.50 each, so that didn't work.
So, I was on a mission. Being at the dollar store one day, I took a chance on a salt and pepper set. They not only fit, but were cute and only 50 cents each. The added bonus was I didn't have to wait to replace a spice I already had or spend money on a new one just for the jar.
I marked the spice on each one with a marker, added my prettiest utensils in the top, and displayed my sugar-free pumpkin coffee syrup.
If you find something you like, don't pass it up. It only takes a bit of ingenuity to replace what worked before with what will work now.
Always store spices in a cool, dry, dark place. The rule of thumb for how long spices stay fresh is: 3 to 4 years for whole spices and seeds, 2 to 3 years for ground spices, 1 to 3 years for leafy herbs, and 1 to 2 years for seasoning blends. If there is no expiration date on your spice container then date it with a sharpie pen on the bottom of the bottle as soon as you purchase it. If the spice is close to expiration and the color, smell (when crushed between your fingers), and/or taste has faded you can always try to revive it by heating it in a dry pan on the stove.
If you're in a pinch and the spice is old but still has a bit of vigor left, just use more than the recipe calls for but do taste testing as you go so you don't overdo it. If worse comes to worse and the spice is not salvageable for cooking, don't just throw it out! Depending on the spice, you can always use it for crafts or mix it with fresh potpourri to add bulk to the potpourri or mix it in with mulch for the garden. I am sure you can come up with other recycling ideas too.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
I always had trouble with onion powder (and other powders) caking soon after the container was opened. To measure an amount, I would have to gouge out a lump and rub it through a sieve.
Store spice jars upside down so air cannot get into the bottles. Spices last so much longer when stored this way.
I often make up batches of homemade seasoning mixes. I find the cost of those cute little spice bottles too expensive, so I wash and thoroughly dry my old prescription bottles and use them to hold these mixes.
My spice cabinet was a mess. Cans, bottles, jars in every size and shape imaginable. I had no idea which spices I had, they were hard to find, and they really didn't "fit" anywhere I put them.
Do you have plastic container baskets that are not the prettiest looking but still useable? Don't toss them out, reuse them!
Keep cooking spices fresh by keeping them in the freezer. To organize them, I use the top shelf of the door.
I got all these different leftover spices which were taking a lot of space in my tiny kitchen. So I just picked one larger spice container and dumped all other spices in it and mixed it well. It makes a great seasoning for pork chops.
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Is there any solution to keeping cooking spices from becoming damp? Is it just this time of the year - with all the humidity - or does this mean that the spice is "old" and needs to be thrown out?
I have never had spices get damp. They should never be stored by the stove....they need to be away from heat and moisture. I think they are probably better off away from light too.
You can buy these amazing little canisters called Dry Spice (www.dryspice.com) that you just drop into your spice jars and it removes all the moisture. I had many spices that were all stuck together, I had to break them up with a knife. After I put these canisters in them they turned into powder again. Amazing! It also keeps the flavor & smell very fresh.
I keep my spices in the refrigerator. Is this OK?
I was told by a spice dealer that you always store red spices, Paprika, Chili Powder etc. in the fridge. I don't know about others but I do know that most store them over the stove for convenience and that is a big No No!
When buying in bulk, can turmeric be frozen? If not, what is the best way to store?
Can you dry out a jar of spices (lemon pepper) that's stuck together, damp like, in the oven? Is there a cure, it's brand new, but it's so humid where I live.