If you love to cook you know that spices are what makes our food exotic, dimensional and flavorful, especially in Asian cuisines. Most people simple store their spices in a spice rack or in a kitchen cupboard, often being neglected. Learning to store spices properly will help increase your cooking efficiently and your ability to produce robust, flavorful and fresh tasting dishes, and here’s how:
Know What You’re Working With
If you are a big collector of spices this task might seem slightly over whelming at first, but assessing your spice situation doesn’t have to take a long time. Simply check the expiration dates and get rid of anything that:
- You don’t use often
- Looks discolored or ‘off’
- Looks cakey
- Smells weak
- You’ve had open for longer than a year
Once you’ve taken an inventory of the spices you want to throw and the spices you want to keep you will have more room in your kitchen, less clutter and more fragrant spices!
Where to Avoid
When deciding where to store your spices take note that the four enemies of your beloved food secrets are: light, air, moisture and heat. These four factors keep spices from performing properly and often make their flavors a lot less prominent. Try and avoid using clear bottles as well as it may be exposed to far too much light. Opt for a steel tin stored away from the dishwasher or oven (a dry cabinet is best) to ensure no light or heat gets into your spices. You can also store larger bulkier back up supplies in the fridge or freezer!
Choose a Storage System
There are many ways to effectively store spices, some of which are:
- Tins. This is the best possible way to store your spices as it keeps them away from sunlight and moisture.
- Small mason jars. Although more prone to sunlight, this is the most eco-friendly choice. If you keep these spices in a dark drawer and ensure the lid is air tight your spices should be well kept.
- Carousel spice racks. These popular organizers are best stored inside a cupboard, away from sunlight.
This is a huge mistake many people make. Some spices are not that easy to distinguish from each other therefore it’s very important you label every single one before putting them away. Use a permanent marker to add the name to the top of the jar or use a label and attach it to the side. This is also a great time to add the date you purchased the seasoning so you know when its time to get a new one.
If you aren’t a fan of scratching stubborn adhesive labels with your fingernails consider the alternative which is to drop a small piece of paper or popsicle stick into the jar along with the spices so you can still identify which is which without the hassle of sticky labels.
It can be very painful having to throw out spices, especially when you know how expensive they can be, but with a little will power and organization you will turn your spices from an unorganized mess into a logical well stored area of your kitchen in no time!