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Spice Drawer Organization & Tips for Healthy Recipes


Posted by on November 2, 2017 / 12 Comments

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I’m sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices.

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

When I moved into my new apartment earlier this year one of the first things I did was organize my pantry. And truth be told, I actually had fun purging, cleaning and labeling food in my favorite Weck Jars.

After that was completed, I set my sights on my spice drawer. And let’s be honest, I was so darn excited to have a massive spice drawer – the largest one I’ve ever had – to house all of my favorite Simply Organic Spices. Side-by-side. Totally visible. And easily reachable. Hooray. 

Watch this video to see how I organize my spice drawer:

And subscribe to my YouTube Channel to never miss a video!

 

I’ve used Simply Organic spices for years because I value quality and sourcing when it comes to food. And spices are no different. Simply Organic spices are always fresh and always organic, which also means that they’re non-GMO and non-irradiated. And this is important because many other spice brands do use irradiation to sterilize their spices.

But I have two other very practical reasons why I love Simply Organic and that’s because the jars are square, which means they don’t go rolling around inside my spice drawer. And the label on the jars is quite minimalist, which means I can see how fresh the spices truly are. Perfect for my minimalist kitchen

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

Cook for a Change

When it comes to healthy, wholesome cooking, spices can make all the difference in turning a recipe from blah to mouthwatering. They can transport you to foreign lands with exotic flavors and make you feel comforted with reminiscent aromas.

My goal with Downshiftology is to inspire you to get into the kitchen and cook a recipe from scratch. If you’ve read my bio, you know I’m abundantly familiar with the healing and transformative powers of nourishing food.

Well, Simply Organic has the same philosophy and believes that spices can transform your dish and cooking can transform your life. That philosophy is the heart of their Cook for a Change campaign, which I’m happy to partner with them on.

How I Organize my Spice Drawer

Because my spice drawer is so wide, I used two of these tiered wood spice drawer inserts and had my brother cut them to size for me. There was no way an off-the-shelf insert was going to fit my drawer as perfectly as these do. 

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

Then, all you have to do is places your spices on top. I line my spices up alphabetically as it’s easier to find things, but I also find that because the jars are clear I can quickly see and then grab the right spice as well.

I do have a few spices that aren’t Simply Organic and these are usually spices I’ve picked up on overseas travel like lemongrass from Thailand and saffron from Bali.

But because I love my Simply Organic spice jars so much I purchased these empty spice jars online, which are the exact same size. It keeps everything looking beautifully cohesive. 

Then, I use an extra-fine water-based paint pen to write on a label. Super easy. 

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

3 Spice Tips for Healthy Recipes

1. Watch the expiration date

It’s really easy to hold on to spices for a long time, but they do lose their taste and potency over time, so make sure to keep an eye on the expiration date.

Once you’ve open a spice bottle, they’ll stay fresh for about 1-2 years, depending on the spice and whole spices will stay fresh longer than their ground counterpart. So if there’s a spice you think you may not use up quickly, like say cloves, you can always buy it whole and grind it up in a spice grinder as needed.

I also write the date I’ve opened the bottle on the backside, with my paint pen, so at the beginning of each year I can see which spices may need to be replaced.

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

2. Store in a cool, dark place

To get the most out of your spices and to make sure they don’t go bad prematurely, store them in a cool, dark place and away from moisture and heat. This means storing them right next to your stove is probably not the best idea, so try to find a drawer or cabinet to store them in.

But if you’re ever questioning if a spice is still fresh all you have to do is just take a sniff and see if it still has a full and flavorful aroma.

3. Know when to use spices

As a proponent of healthy food and home cooked meals, I use a variety of fresh herbs and spices in my recipes. Fresh, leafy herbs, like basil or sage are usually added at the end of cooking, to keep their bright, garden-fresh flavor.

But dried spices are best when added earlier in the cooking process so that they have time to meld with the other flavors in the recipe, like when you’re making a soup, stew or curry.

Dried spices are also preferable if you’re making a spice rub for meat or fish. Or if you’re making your own spice blend, like my homemade Taco Seasoning.

Just remember that dried spices have a more concentrated flavor, so start with about 1/3 the quantity of fresh herbs in a recipe. And you can always add more if needed.

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

My spice drawer is pivotal to cooking healthy recipes. So today I'm sharing how I organize my spice drawer and giving you a few tips for dried spices. #SpiceOrganization #SpiceDrawer #SpiceRack #KitchenOrganization #KitchenIdeas

What’s my Favorite Spice?

It’s hard to pick just one favorite spice, but the spice I use most often in cooking is garlic. Hands down. If you watched my kitchen gadgets video this will probably come as no surprise as I love fresh garlic as well, but dried garlic is perfect for sprinkling on chicken, fish or a variety of roast recipes.

My Top 10 Spices

If you’re just starting out and building up your spice drawer, these would be my top 10 spices. But check out Simply Organic’s website for their entire line of spices. And be forewarned, you’ll want to grab them all! 

Click HERE to pin this Spice Drawer Organization post to your Pinterest Board


This post was created in partnership with Simply Organic (a brand I’ve loved and used for years). All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

  • That is a fantastic drawer full of spices, you can cook for an army. Great organization tips. I should also write the date I open a jar, mine are there forever.

    • Thanks! And writing the date is key – because once I cleaned out my spice drawer I saw that many had been expired for years – eeek! Fresh spices make ALL the difference in meals tasting fab. :)

  • I love how organized your spice drawer is and you’ve shared some great tips that I will definitely keep in mind.

  • This is exactly the post I needed to read. My spice drawer is currently in major disarray and I’ve been meaning to organize it. I love that you can buy empty jars of the same size for specialty spices you’ve picked up in your travels. Your setup is my spice drawer goal!

    • It’s so easy for spice drawers to get messy, isn’t it? But it’s definitely worth it to take a day and reorganize. It’s very motivating and makes you want to cook up healthy meals as well! :) Thanks Amanda!

  • Great tips!!! I seriously need to redo my spice cupboard

  • Ginny McMeans

    Love organizational tips and this article on spices is perfect. I also lean towards Simply Organic spices and thanks for the link to the matching jars. Very cool.

  • Camilla Andersson

    Hi Lisa, Tonight I spent time buying the empty spice jars and drawer inserts etc. One thing came up which is what do you do with spices you use in high quantities, where is the smaller square jar is too small? Best Camilla

    • Hi Camilla – I tend to not buy spices in bulk (as I can’t verify the quality). So if I use up all my garlic powder in one month, I’ll just buy another bottle of Simply Organic garlic. But even with the huge amount of cooking that I do, I find that the regular sized bottles still last a significant amount of time. For other things, like matcha powder, etc, I’ll store those in Weck Jars in my pantry. :)

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