Today I’m going to spice it up! Okay, bad pun, I know. But the spice cupboard is so important to the kitchen. Cooking and baking would be incredibly bland without the right spices and I hate wasting time searching for a specific spice. When I’m gathering ingredients for a recipe I want to be able to pull the spices out without getting a headache. And our youngest son and his lovely girlfriend often come over for dinner which he usually takes over making so I want him to be able to find everything easily.
Cleaning out the spice cupboard is important because spices and spice blends don’t last a super long time. They begin to lose their potency and an outdated spice can ruin your recipe. While I’m cleaning out the old bottles I like to wash down the cupboard as well.
So, first things first, empty the cupboard for your spices completely. Wash the shelves while they’re free of bottles and jars. Now pat yourself on the back for a job well begun. Next it’s on to arranging the spices.
Many people like to store their spices in groups; the spices they use for stuffing in one group and the spices for pies or pot roasts in other groups. I’m a little more O.C.D. about my spices. I find it easier to arrange them alphabetically and by size of jar than by the recipe groupings. It’s also easier for any cook’s helper to locate things if they’re not trying to figure out your method for grouping items.
Having some kind of sliding drawer or carousel makes it easier to locate a bottle than having them all just stacked on behind or on top of another. Right now I have a couple of Lazy Susan-type carousels but my dream is to have slide out spice racks. I’m working on getting enough brownie points to tell my husband I want him to build me a few.
While all the spices are out of the cupboard go through and discard any old bottles and jars. They’ll last a bit longer than their “Best By” dates but not a lot longer. Wipe the jars down with a damp paper cloth to get rid of anything that’s gotten on them. You don’t want to open a jar and have dust from the lid get into your spice.
Now it’s just a matter of putting everything back. Choose the method by which your spices will be arranged. By group, alphabetically, or any other way you like. Just make it simple to use so you’re not hunting for something in the middle of cooking.