Spice storage is a challenge that bedevils many of us — especially those of us who use tablespoons, not pinches, of spices in our cooking. Indian, Indonesian, and Malaysian cooking often demand large amounts of spices — the average little spice bottle is gone in two cooking sessions. So I finally turned to the most practical option, and it is working splendidly. Mason jars prove their worth yet again.
My spice cupboard had become a real horror; I was buying spices in little bags, which piled up and blew their dusty contents over the floor of the cabinet. I never knew what I had or where it was. And my spice jars never seemed to stay full and they were a pain to refill.
Then I saw Marisa McClellan's (of Food in Jars) lovely spice storage in her apartment — tons of little pint jars all lined up. Lightbulb moment! Mason jars to the rescue again.
Here are three reasons I turned from my wee spice jars to 1/2-pint and wide-mouth pint jars.
• 1. Mason jars are inexpensive. I have spent too much money on spice jars and storage systems. Mason jars are inexpensive, and they are always available. If you lose a lid or need to replace a jar you can easily swap them out. I bought a case of 12 1/2-pint jars on Amazon for $14. You can probably find them even cheaper elsewhere.
• 2. Mason jars hold a practical amount of spices. Like I said above, I do a lot of cooking that depends on larger quantities of spices. Mason jars easily hold a half cup or more of spices. They also hold whole spices easily; I store cinnamon sticks and whole dried chiles in the jars.
• 3. Mason jars are easy to stack, store, and refill. No more peering through lids to guess what's inside a jar — these clear glass jars let you see what's inside (I still wrote on them with a Sharpie, though, just to be extra-sure about what's inside). They stack well, if necessary, and they are easy to refill. I take my jars down to my local co-op and refill them from the bulk spice area. I filled these for a fraction of what it would cost to buy spices in jars at the grocery store.
My spice cupboard is so much happier and healthier now, and it's easy to grab salt (stored in a full pint-sized jar) or cinnamon sticks. Everything is clear and organized, and all for the low cost of Mason jars.
If Mason jars aren't quite your thing, though, we've blogged a lot of other spice storage solutions. There's this printer's tray setup, and a spice rack built with a ruler. There's this very popular DIY wall-mounted magnetic spice rack, and a white and minimal rack, also DIY. I really like this rack built inside on a cupboard door.
How do you store your spices? Do you use Mason jars?
More Good Uses for Canning Jars
Pictured above, left to right:
• Pantry Organization: Put Your Grains In Jars
• 5 Reasons Why Desserts in Jars Are the Schizzle-Dizzle
• Canning Jars as Glasses: Shabby Chique or Just Shabby?
More (not pictured above)
• Oatmeal in Jars: Make a Week of Breakfast in 5 Minutes
• Snack On The Go: Veggies Stored In Dip
• Cool Idea! DIY Ice Cream Kit in a Jar
• Cupcakes In a Jar! The Latest Cupcake Craze
Jars We Like
• Five Extra-Pretty Canning Jars
• Best Jars to Organize Your Pantry
• Great Storage: CAST Glass Jars by Kosei Shirotani
(Images: Faith Durand)