One of the very first articles I wrote for The Boat Galley was about storing spices and I’ve written a number of additional ones since then, even making a mini-series out of them. It’s definitely a topic that gets lots of questions!
And reader Deb Perfitt left a comment about how she stores her spices:
I have a recipe box, you know the old fashion one? It would hold index cards so it’s pretty compact. I fill the snack Ziplocs with the herbs and spices, label them, then “file” them alphabetically. I keep the whole box in my fridge on board.
And once again, I had a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.
Actually, I’d make two changes to Deb’s idea, both of them because there is always quite a bit of humidity and condensate in my refrigerator (it depends on the climate whether this is a problem for you or not) and moisture is the enemy of spices:
- Instead of using an old recipe box (or a file box), I’d use a Lock & Lock or Sterilite container — something with a gasket to keep the moisture out, as it will permeate the bags to some extent. An added bonus would be that the smell from the spices wouldn’t get out and into other foods (garlic-smelling milk, for example).
- I’d use freezer bags instead of snack bags. They’re heavier and less moisture-permeable. The down side is that they take up more room — it seems insignificant until you realize the difference it makes when you have 30 different spices! But they do hold more.
Deb’s system takes up a lot less space overall than keeping lots of little jars, too. Actually, Deb said that when she can, she buys bulk spices and doesn’t even have the jars to throw away. Double bonus: not just less storage space but less trash.
Keep the box of spices near the top of the refrigerator so that it’s handy. Also it’s the warmest place in the refrigerator and spices really don’t need to be cold, just cool is fine to prolong their life.