I heard a stat from the spice company McCormick recently that the average American pantry has about 40 herbs, spices and flavorings. (Our photo studio spice racks, pictured here, have 100!) That’s a lot of jars, tins and bottles stacked precariously and tumbling out every time you rummage for the cumin.
I don’t have a solution for chronic cabinet cascade—but I have figured out a way to buy less of the herbs and spices I don’t use often, and more of the ones I do, all for lower prices than at the grocery store. I shop in bulk at a local natural foods store. (For me, that’s New City Market in Des Moines.)
Bulk spices are priced by weight, and you just self-serve the amount you want. The prices are comparable to or often substantially less than the little supermarket jars. It also gives me control over the quantity I buy; I can serve myself a generous amount of a favorite spice like cumin and just a smidgen of an obscure spice like whole coriander that I only need for one recipe.
It may be my imagination, but the spices seem fresher to me, with richer colors and more intense aromas. Plus, portioning out spices with little wooden scoops is just so fun, like playing apothecary!
Once I get my baggies home, I tip the spices into $1 spice jars from Bed, Bath and Beyond, so all my spices are in the same-size jars. I do still have to rummage, but at least things look tidier! What's your solution to out-of-control spices?