Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spice Cabinet Organization

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or a conventional cook, seasonings and spices will add wonderful dimensions to your cooking.   I admit to being somewhat of a spice and seasoning junkie.  When I see a recipe that I want to try that has an obscure spice, I tend to go out and buy it, even if I can't think of a second use for it.  Yes, that may seem totally impractical, but I figure it's a small indulgence given how much I enjoy cooking and baking.

I did realize earlier this week, however, that our "spice cabinet" (aka, two shelves in the cabinet above our toaster), had gone somewhat awry.  Because we just kind of shoved everything in there, it was very difficult to find anything when we needed it.

So, today, I decided to tackle a quick kitchen organization project.  Earlier this week, we ordered a cabinet organizer so we could stack our spices in tiers, and it arrived yesterday.  Today, we took all of the seasoning and spice bottles out of the cabinet and wiped them down the shelves.

Since husband and I lived on our own for quite awhile before we co-habitated, we ended up with duplicate seasonings, so we consolidated those.  I then organized the remaining bottles by brand so that they'd look visually nice when we put them back in the cabinet- kind of like how closet organizers suggest organizing your clothes by color.

I assumed that I would be able to read the labels of each bottle when I put them on the shelf organizer, but we quickly realized that wasn't going to be the case.  So, after we got all the bottles how we wanted them, I made a quick map like you might see in a box of chocolates, and taped it to the inside of the cabinet.

The map has two benefits.  Not only will we know exactly where each spice is located, but we'll also now have a quick inventory of what spices and seasonings we already have.  So, when I find a recipe I want to try, we can consult the map before we go shopping.  And, I also said we could use the map like a game - close our eyes, point to the map and whichever seasoning we touch can inspire a cooking experiment.

Yes, we have more seasonings that don't fit on the organizer, but I feel like our spice cabinet has come a long way! 
What spices and seasonings are your favorites to cook with?  Cumin tends to be my go to, and I've also enjoyed playing with za'atar.  We also put crushed red pepper flakes in dishes to add heat.

What other tips do you have for keeping your kitchen organized?

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