The Brilliant Spice-Storage Secret I Learned When I Moved to Atlanta

updated Sep 16, 2021
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Credit: Kenan Hill

Let me tell you about something that might change the way you store your spices.

When I got married, I moved from San Francisco to Atlanta. The culture shock was real, but so was the warmth of a Southern welcome. My husband’s friends, who became some of my dearest friends, showed me around and introduced me to many of the places that became regular stops on my errand circuit as a newlywed and newcomer to the area.

One of the best and most unusual places I learned about was Your Dekalb Farmers Market. It is nothing like any farmer’s market you’re familiar with. In fact, if you’re in Atlanta and you say you’re going shopping at the farmer’s market, many would understand implicitly that you don’t mean the Saturday morning gathering of farm-fresh produce stands.

The best way I can describe Your Dekalb Farmers Market is that it’s a giant warehouse of international foods. In addition to being able to easily procure things like red chili paste or all the spices you need for pho (in one place!), the prices are rock bottom. The market includes seafood and butcher sections and offers freshly baked goods (my mouth waters for the custard fruit tartlet as I write), aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, and rows and rows of nuts and spices.

We’ve moved from Atlanta to Tallahassee and haven’t been to Your Dekalb Farmers Market in years, but one thing hasn’t changed since my Atlanta days: my spice containers. It’s the Atlantans insider secret to spice storage. Anyone that’s been to YDFM is in the know — and it’s highly likely they store their spices the same way I do because it’s the actual best.

Credit: Kenan Hill

The Atlanta Way to Store Your Spices

Dekalb Farmers Market spices come packaged in flat, round 8-ounce containers. And these squat storage containers boost several benefits over the narrow, tall spice containers most people use.

For one, they stack easily — you don’t need multi-tiered storage solutions to maximize your cabinet space with these. And the wide, flat footprint means you can give several of your go-to spices front row seats at the front of the cabinet, easily reading the wide labels. The very best thing about them is that you can actually stick a measuring spoon inside them! And they’re super easy to refill.

Credit: Kenan Hill

Of course, no refilling was involved when I lived in Atlanta because my refills always came in these containers from YDFM. But since I’ve been in Florida and the spices I have to restock come in many different containers, I appreciate not having to decant into tiny spice containers while still enjoying the convenience and aesthetic of uniform storage.

Credit: Kenan Hill

I’ve since purchased the 8-ounce deli containers (you can get a set of 40 for less than $17) to replace most of my old Dekalb containers, although I leave a few in my stack for posterity. In a particularly crafty mood several years ago, I printed out some pretty labels onto sticker paper and cut them out nice and neatly. But hand-written labels, or a grease pencil, or white Sharpie straight on the container would work just as well.

My in-rotation spices live in stacks that are two to three containers high on two two-tiered turntables in my cabinet. Back stock is stored on upper shelves. I have a few 16-ounce containers for spices that I go through quickly, like chili powder and cumin. And I will never store my spices any other way.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Atlanta Insider Secret is the Best Way to Store Your Spices, No Matter Where You Live