Tips on Storing Spices

Hello everyone.

I have been meaning to write a post on how I store my spices.  Yesterday, Yummy Italy posted a photo of her under the counter spice rack on Instagram.  Her words, not mine–It is SUCH A MESS!  She asked for good organizing ideas, so I decided to take some photos and write this blog post in addition to posting the photos on Instagram.

I buy spices everywhere I go, but the bulk of my spices are bought at an Indian grocery store in Austin.  I use spices so often, that I buy them in large quantities, especially if I can get a good deal on them.  I buy my spices whole and keep the unopened bulk bags in the freezer.

Storing Spices Freezer

The photo above is my freezer filled with fennel seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cumin seeds and more.  Whole spices are stored in the freezer.

Chillies, salts, cinnamon sticks and powdered spices are stored in my cool air-conditioned pantry.

Storing Spices Pantry

I mostly make my own spice mixes, but there are a few MDH brand spice mixes that I buy.

Once I open up a bag of spices, I transfer the contents into a mason jar with a rubber sealed gasket.  I keep these mason jars in a dark cabinet in my kitchen.

Storing Spices Dark Cabinet

The mason jars have bulk spices that will last me a few months.  The spices stay fresh because they are not exposed to air, moisture, heat or light.

For my everyday use, I have two spice racks with small bottles.  The first rack has the spices I use most frequently, so this one sits on my kitchen counter.

Storing Spices Rack

The second spice rack has the spices that I use less frequently, so it is kept in a kitchen cabinet with doors that can be closed to protect the spices from light.

Storing Spices Feature

This cabinet also contains salts, peppers, and spice blends.  In the photo, you can see the canister of garam masala.  I kept the canister because I like the seal and label on it, but the masala inside I made myself.

My spice bottles are not labeled because I have had these spice racks for 30 years and I know what each spice is, but you can Of course label them.  I still have one of the boxes of bottles I bought 30 years ago.  You can see that it came with labels which I never used.

Storing Spices Accessories

I am sure you can find these spice accessories on line.  They are many different configurations of spice racks.  These little bottles are my favorite for storing small quantities that can be used up quickly and not go stale.  When one of these bottles goes empty, I refill it from my bulk supply.

Since I cook with LOVE and SPICES, I have to have plenty of both on hand.  💖😄

 

 

Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes

This is one of my favorite recipes.  I look forward to fresh summer Roma tomatoes so I can make this dish.  I learned how to make these from my Italian neighbor, Jeanette.  When we lived in California, my husband used to grow our vegetables.  I used to take the extra veggies to Jeanette.  In return, she taught me how to make her Italian dishes.  She is the one who introduced me to Italian cooking.

This recipe is very simple and versatile.  I put the roasted tomatoes on my cheese board when throwing a wine tasting party.  They are great with a full bodied red wine.  I also use them in pasta dishes and sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 Roma tomatoes (these were grown by my neighbor, Billy.  I think they are absolutely beautiful)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (mine is in a spray bottle.  Makes it easier to use.  If you don’t have a spray bottle you can drizzle it on with a small spoon.)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • sea salt to taste

PREP:

  • Cut the Roma tomatoes in half
  • Use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and place them on a foil lined baking sheet
  • Sprinkle them with sea salt and my Italian Spice Mix
  • Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil

COOK:  Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Place the tomatoes in the oven and bake them till they are browned.  This takes 10 to 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Arrange the cooked tomatoes in a bowl or platter.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with grated Romano cheese and fresh basil for a finishing touch.

Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes Feature

 

Indian Spice Mix

I use my Indian Spice Mix in many of my recipes.  I have posted it here so that you can refer to it.  I have also linked this as a reference tip in each recipe where the formula is used.

Starting at the 12 o’clock position, the ingredients are as follows:

Indian Spice Mix Instagram

 

  • Onion Powder–1 part
  • Cayenne Pepper–1 to 2 parts depending on how spicy you want to make it
  • Garam Masala–2 parts
  • Turmeric Powder-1 part
  • Garlic Powder–1 part
  • Red Chili Flakes–1 to 2 parts depending on how spicy you want to make it
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasoori Methi in Hindi)–1 part
  • Smoked Paprika–1 part

I sometimes combine the ingredients in the ratios suggested above.  You can also sprinkle on each spice as needed.

Many of these items can be purchased online or at an Indian grocery store.  Some of these items can be found at your local supermarket.

If you can’t find dried fenugreek leaves, just leave it out. If you use the fenugreek leaves, crush them in the palm of your hand first.  This will turn them into a powder and release their aromatic oils.

I do make my own Garam Masala, but you can buy it.  Every Indian cook has their own recipe for Garam Masala.

It is best to keep your spices sealed in a dry, cool and dark place.  Air, moisture, heat and light cause your spices to go stale quickly.

If you have any questions or thoughts, post them in the comments and I will help you out.

 

Italian Spice Mix

I use my Italian Spice Mix in a lot of my recipes.  I have posted it here so that you can refer to it.

To make a dry rub, mix equal parts of:

Italian Spice Mix

  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Red Chili Flakes

You can also just sprinkle each item on individually.  It is a simple but flavorful spice mix.  I have linked this as a reference tip in each recipe where this formula is used.

If you want to make it less or more spicy just increase or decrease the amount of red chili flakes.