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My wife and I really enjoy cooking, so we have tons of spices. I understand it's best to keep them in the dark, so we thought we might like a spice cupboard.

Probably 50 or so spices; they don't need to stay in their own container necessarily, though that would be easier.

Anyone have good recommendations?

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Thanks for the update. –  yossarian Mar 30 '11 at 20:43

3 Answers 3

Use modular spice containers that can stack on top of each other without falling. I find that round containers about an inch tall and two inches across are great, and easily available where I live. With this size, it's much easier to use a measuring spoon, other spoon, refill package. The containers I have aren't air-tight (too cheap, I get 50 for about $3), but I have enough turnover so that it doesn't really matter. You can always buy tupperware or other high quality containers that'll give longer shelf life.

Stack them in the cupboard in "families". The spices that get used together should be in the same stack. In my case, coriander seed, ginger, galangal, cloves and turmeric go in the same stack. I also have a stack for things that get used very often, like salt, pepper, cumin, chilli flakes etc. The spices you use more often will migrate to the top of the stack quite quickly, so it gets more convenient as you go along.

The more physical aspects are quite simple too: Little light, no sunlight; no direct heat (i.e. not above the stove); not in the path of too much moisture (not above the stove or in the escape path of the steam); Keep some dessicant in the same cupboard, to soak up any moisture. I just store my various jars of rice in the same cupboard.

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+1 for storing in 'families' - great idea! –  KimbaF Mar 31 '11 at 7:24
    
What does the term 'families' refer to in this case? –  z-boss Mar 31 '11 at 15:23
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@z-boss: the families are the sets of spices that you use together often. Which spices are a family really depends on what you cook. For instance, for Italian cooking, I would put oregan basil and thyme in one family, and store them in one stack. –  Carmi Mar 31 '11 at 17:25
    
Thanks, got it. –  z-boss Mar 31 '11 at 18:48

My wife bought small glass containers from amazon. I think they come in packs of 10 or 12 can't recall. I used labels for filing cabinets and printed the text on them for her. I also used colors for families such as red colored labels for spices etc. From home depot I bought "step stands". They are in step formation so you can see what is behind each level of step and read the labels.

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I use two two-tier turn-tables (aka. 'lazy-suzan') one for herbs, one for spices, for the most part, but it's partly sorted by size), and keep them in a closed cabinet.

The only issue is that most of the modern turn-tables I've seen for sale waste a lot of vertical space. (almost two inches / 5cm for two shelves) I have an older one that's two shelves and can fit most common sized containers on both shelves (within my cabinet) as it only uses maybe 1/2 in (1.5cm) total.

...

I've also seen strategies of labeling the tops of jars, and setting them in a drawer (or racks that hold them at an angle so the label is visible), but I don't have enough drawers in my kitchen to make it a good alternative. (I do have a drawer where I keep bags of bulk spices for re-filling jars, but it's not in as convenient of a place for cooking with)

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