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Today’s kitchen is not your grandmother’s kitchen, and your grandmother’s spice rack won’t do. Today, we have the world’s cuisine at our fingertips, and are cooking with amazing ingredients like gochugaru, za’atar, and annatto.
We are eager to explore new culinary styles and want our food to be as fresh and flavorful as possible. And many of us are working in small kitchens without as much space as we would like. Obviously, it’s time to get creative with how we store spices, so here are some clever DIY kitchen spice storage hacks.
Spice Storage Basics: How Do You Keep Spices Fresh?
Spices can be expensive, and once you’ve invested in them, you want to make sure they stay as potent and flavorful as possible. Here’s a quick guide to storing spices for peak freshness.
How Long Do Spices Last?
Most kitchen spices do not rot, spoil, or “go bad” like other foods, but they do lose flavor and fragrance over time. As a general rule, when spices are stored properly, they will last quite a long time:
- Dried herbs: 1-2 years
- Ground spices: 2-3 years
- Whole spices: 3-4 years
However, the flavor compounds in spices are fairly delicate, so it’s best to not store them for prolonged periods.
If you wish to create an outdoor kitchen there are many ways it can be done, and the budget required for each of them can also vary greatly. You could spend thousands of dollars and have a contractor come in and build it for you.
How to Buy Spices
If you have great kitchen spice storage at home, consider buying small quantities of spices from bulk bins without store-bought packaging when possible. That way you can buy just the amount you need and use them more quickly, so you aren’t storing spices for long periods.
When you have your own spice rack and containers at home, buying just the small quantities of spices you need ensures that you’ll always have fresh spices on hand, and buying products without packaging is better for the environment. This is also a great option for trying new recipes and cuisines, when you just want to experiment.
Another alternative is to buy spices in larger quantities and freeze the excess. Spices can be frozen in an airtight container and will last 2-3x longer than their standard shelf life.
How to Store Spices
Spices should be stored in an airtight container, and protected from light, moisture, and from extreme temperatures. Don’t store spices over or near your stove, to prevent the heat and steam from your cooktop from affecting your spices.
Store spices away from light, or in opaque jars like this set from Thetis Homes. These jars are just the right size for spices, and the amber glass will protect spices from damage from UV light. The lids are lined for extra freshness, and they come with labels.
Tip: When cooking with spices, don’t open the container and sprinkle them directly into a cooking pot. That exposes the inside of the jar to heat and steam from cooking and degrades your unused spices more quickly. Instead, measure spices into a prep bowl or pour them into the palm of your hand to the side of the cooktop, away from heat.
Clever DIY Ways to Store Kitchen Spices
1. Kitchen Cupboard Spice Storage DIY Hacks
If you are storing your spices in a cupboard, there are a lot of great DIY solutions to save space when storing spices. Here are our favorites:
Making tiered mini-shelves within your cupboard allows your spices to take up a lot less space and makes it easier to find what you are looking for quickly. Over at remodelaholic.com, they have a great tutorial on how to make a DIY tiered spice rack out of a single 2×4. The project costs less than $3 and takes no time at all.
If you have space in your cabinets, you can also simply create a second, shallow shelf for spices. You can buy spice shelves like these, but you can also DIY an in-cabinet spice shelf in minutes. Simply use a pair of small tension rods like these and place them across the back of the inside your cabinet, to make a shallow elevated shelf perfect for spices.
Back of the Door
If you are short on cabinet space, hanging your spices from the back of the cabinet door is a great way to keep spices visible and organized, without taking up any extra room.
2. DIY Cabinet Door Spice Storage
To make this storage rack, you will need:
- Spice jar gripper clips. We like this set because it is self-adhesive, but also comes with screws for extra security, which makes it a versatile solution
- Degreasing spray cleaner
- Microfiber cloth
- Measuring tape and pencil
- Optional: screwdriver
To install spice jar gripper clips, follow these instructions:
- Choose where you want to place your spice clips. You may want to measure or test-fit the clips with your spice jars in various ways to make sure you have adequate room and easy access.
- Once you have chosen where to hang the clips, clean the area thoroughly with a degreasing cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.
- Use a measuring tape and light pencil to mark where you will hang the clips. Make sure they will be level.
- Peel off the backing, and firmly press the gripper clip strip into place.
Optional: If you have larger, heavier glass spice jars, live in an RV or storm-prone region, or just want extra security, you may use the included screws to screw the clips in place. Renters may want to avoid this step.
3. Kitchen Drawer DIY Spice Storage
A kitchen drawer is a great way to save space with spice storage, because the short jars fit more naturally in drawers than in cupboards.
Adding tiered shelving inside a drawer makes spice storage so much more attractive and organized. There is a great tutorial over on eHow with step-by-step instructions on how to make your own DIY tiered spice drawer organizer, and it gives gorgeous results.
If your kitchen drawers are too shallow for a tiered organizer, you can still have great spice storage in a kitchen drawer with this spice drawer liner. It comes in a long roll, and you simply cut to fit your drawers and your needs. The foam keeps bottles in place, without rolling or rattling, and there’s no installation required.
4. DIY Under-Cabinet Spice Storage
The space beneath kitchen cabinets is often under-utilized, and it’s a great place to store spices. Instructables has a fantastic DIY magnetic under-cabinet spice rack tutorial. Since spices stored in this way will be exposed to UV light, it would be better to use opaque magnetic spice containers like these rather than the clear glass jars in the tutorial, and it would save you the step of gluing magnets to the jars.
5. Personalized DIY Magnetic Spice Rack
With a magnetic spice rack, you can keep your spices anywhere you like, using unused wall space or the back of a door to free up valuable space in the kitchen. This DIY magnetic spice storage solution is functional and beautiful and expresses your creative side.
To make your own DIY magnetic spice rack, you will need:
A Magnet Board
While any magnet board will do, adding a thrift store frame will make it look much more attractive. We love this framed magnetic chalk board from HBCY Creations because combining a magnet board with a chalk board gives you so many more options for decoration, customization, and organization.
Magnetic Spice Containers
You can buy magnetic spice containers or use a strong glue to add magnets to your existing spice containers.
Spice Jar Labels
If you are using a chalkboard magnet board, you may as well continue the motif with chalkboard labels like these. Chalkboard labels make it easy to re-use spice jars and containers and try new and different ingredients.
Step up your décor game with beautiful and versatile chalkboard markers. A set like these gives you so many options for decoration and organization.
Magnetic Pen Holder(s)
Having a pen holder like this right on your magnet board makes it easy to stay organized and get creative.
To make this DIY magnetic spice rack, simply hang the magnet board in your kitchen. You may want to decorate it with chalk markers, washi tape, paint, or express your creativity to make it your own. Transfer your spices to magnetic spice jars, or use E6000 glue to attach magnets to your existing spice containers. Use the labels and markers to label your spice containers.
There are so many creative ways to store spices in nearly any available space you have. Your spices can be organized, accessible, and fresh and flavorful as well. Try some of these clever DIY ways to store kitchen spices today.