Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spicy Kitchens

Thanks to everyone for the comments on our kitchen remodel and keep them coming. We are still in the planning stages so I'm trying to make note of things other people have done in their kitchens which I think I'd like to incorporate into ours. I am brain storming for ideas to address the challenges of our particular kitchen (which may be different for non-vegan kitchens).

Spices:

Most vegans we know own a lot of spices. I would say that vegans probably use a wider variety of spices as a rule. I'm not sure why this is, but it has been my experience. We have around eighty different spices and Rob used to love how many spices we have, but now he is getting cranky in his old age and feels like we have too many. I'm guessing this is because we have no good place to store them right now so they take up our precious counter space. He was being helpful while I was outside at our yard sale Saturday and decided to clean and organize the kitchen. I came in to find something and he proudly stated that he had reorganized my spices into what type of cooking they belonged to...what?!!...you know, like Indian, Italian, etc. He segregated my spices! I guess you can't take the south out of the man. Let me explain, I like and have always liked for my spices to be in alphabetical order. Did I mention we have around eighty spices? Alphabetical is the only clear choice. When I need cumin, I don't want to think to myself if that is technically a spice use for Indian cooking or African or Mediterranean or whathaveyou. No, I want to look at the end of the c's and find it...done! I hate to burst his bubble and I appreciate the time he put into changing the spices around (he also put the "most popular" spices in a different location...again, who is to say which spice is more "popular"? Are we in high school here or something?) so I haven't gone back and properly alphabetized them yet, but I will. I swear I use them all. Well, he was right about one thing, we don't need the kelp powder...I will never use the kelp powder.

Part of the issue when deciding what to do with all my beloved spices is the containers. We recycle glass from anything (jelly for example) and use it to hold our spices which we usually buy in the bulk bins or in bulk bags from the co-op (we are still working our way through a co-op purchase of organic oregano in the freezer). This means they are all different shapes and sizes so most of the traditional spice storage options won't help.

As I was checking out other blogs, I noticed a few ways to deal with spices which I need to keep in mind. Here Yellow Rose has a great drawer 'o spices. I have a dream where my spices from Agar to Za'atar could live together in peace. Share your own tip on what to do with all these spices!

11 comments:

Cravin' Veggies said...

I SAW that drawer of spices when she posted it. My heart went pitter-patter, and I lost my breath for a moment... I swear!! I totally want that spice drawer!!

I had (notice I said had) my spices alphabetized. But since my kids and husband use them too, they never get put back in the right spot, and I just got sick of re-organizing.

I hate having to look for what I want, though! I used to know just where to reach for whatever it was I needed. *sigh*

Miss Jenny said...

I'm thinking a wall-mounted rack where the spice jars slide in at an angle (if that doesn't make sense I can draw a picture later). They can be labeled on the top of the lid and be as big or small as you like. Stainless steel or glass jars are great because they don't hold odors.
Of course, I'm thinking that Rob can build this for you! :)

Gnightgirl said...

I keep my spices in Ball jars; you can get a dozen pint-sized jars for less than $10, and there are a variety of smaller sizes also, for less-used spices. I get a dozen espresso spoons (is that what they are, the tiny ones?) at Ikea for about $3. Toss one in each jar, and voila.

I just use a sharpie to write on the lid, and put them in pull-out shelves, so I can read which is which from the top.

Leeanthro said...

Mine are in an open cabinet above our island in labelled tins on tiered metal shelves. I think I got them from Gardener's Supply.

Mine aren't alphabetized, but are in order of how often I use them and divided by sweet and savory.

Leeanthro said...

Look in the IKEA catalog, they have a ton of great solutions for spices and lots of cool drawer inserts and jars.

Meat-free Mike said...

I store my spices (and dried herbs) in jars in a cabinet in our kitchen. They are organized by type of effect, I guess - powders for curries, heat inducing, seeds like mustard and cumin; then herbs like rosemary, thyme, savories, etc. No other logic behind storage- as long as I can find it! :)

Kris said...

maybe you need to eat more jam so all your jars are the same!

4 is crazy said...

I like Kris' suggestion.

I know I cannot help in this situation. My spices are on a rack that came with the house and are arranged by however I can shove them in there.

Jenna said...

Does having them all on the same shelf count as 'organized'? My 2y has grown fond of smelling and organizing them (but I keep my super good ones separate...for my eyes only).

half pint pixie said...

Alphabetical!!!!

I used to have a spice drawer and the smell off it, mmmmm...

At the moment we have an old wooden wine rack that I have turned into a spice rack. It works quite well for "groups" of spices, ie all the chili (mild, medium, hot, flaked etc) is together in one winehole, as are all the various clove, coriander, cumin types etc. All my individual spices like fenugreek are alphabetised on a traditional wooden rack supplied by ebay. But when we eventually get our own house, I am going to build a spice cupboard!

VeganLinda said...

Thank you CV and HPP, I am not completely insane for alphabetizing my spices! :-) I might have to look for an old wine rack HPP that sounds like a good idea.

Thanks to everyone else as well, I need all the help I can get when it comes to getting the kitchen all organized and efficient. Keep the comments comin'. I need to take pictures soon so you all can see what we are dealing with here.