Looking for spice storage can be extremely frustrating. (Too big! Not enough jars! Don’t even think of taking up my counter space!) So I schemed up my own more flexible storage system. And it’s sooooo simple: just tins, glue and magnets. Ample (and attractive) spice storage can be found on your wall or fridge, leaving your cupboards and counter blessedly free of those pesky little spice tubs. And did I mention that storing your spices in tins will help them keep their flavor longer than in glass or plastic jars?
The full writeup is also available at my blog, kitchen table scraps along with lots of other foodie nonsense including how to store spices to maintain their quality.
Step 1: Decide Where to Locate Your Spice Rack.
First, pick a location for your spices. Mine works great on large, exposed side of my fridge, but that may not work for your kitchen. If you buy a cheap metal shelf support, your spices could be organized in a line almost anywhere in your kitchen. You absolutely need to think about accessibility and appearance when deciding where to put your spices, but also think about heat. Opaque tins will keep your spices safe from light damage, but exposure to heat can be equally damaging. So avoid placing your spices near your oven or on a wall that gets hours of direct sunlight.
Step 2: Assemble Your Materials.
Make a list of the spices that you like to keep around. For the spices that I use most, I like to have separate containers for the whole spice, and for a small portion of the spice ground. So if you want doubles be sure to include them twice in your total. Just for good measure, add 10-20% to your total count before you order tins. If you’re ordering them online, it’s definitely cheaper to order a few extras rather than to make a separate order later. Make a few extra tins and you’ll be ready to slap a label on your tin when you get a new spice.
2 part Epoxy
1/2″ rare earth magnets
Steel wool or fine grit sandpaper
a small stick (for mixing epoxy)
a circle cutter, or sharp scissors
craft glue or double sided tape (for attaching labels to the outside of tins)
1/2″ metal shelf support (optional, this is only if you want to mount your spice rack on the wall. Mine is on the side of my fridge.)
Thick, matte paper or adhesive label paper (for printing labels)
Step 3: Glue Magnets to Tins.
Use steel wool or sandpaper to rough up the center of tin and one side of the magnet (Don’t clean off surface). Squeeze out epoxy and hardener on to the roughed up surface. Use a stick to mix the epoxy and hardener together, then carefully place the magnet in the glue. It is important to use enough glue so that it will squish out around the sides of the magnet– not tidy, I know, but the extra epoxy on the side keeps the magnet firmly attached. Otherwise the magnets tend to peel off after a while. So let the glue be a little messy, and take comfort that no one will be looking at the back of them anyway. Leave the tins to dry undisturbed, as per the directions on your epoxy.
A 4oz. tin will need 1 or 2 magnets to hold it up, depending on what you’re storing in it. The heaviest spice I’ve found is whole nutmeg, a 4 oz. nutmeg tin needs 3 magnets, whole seeds like pepper, cloves generally need 2 magnets. Powders and dried leaves will be fine with just one magnet. If you plan to stick your spice tins on a metal shelf support , be sure that your magnets are glued exactly in the center of the tin. If you are using more than one, the magnets should be spaced out to either side, but in line with the center of the tin.
I printed the labels onto thick matte paper and glued them to the surface of each tin with craft glue. I love my nerdy-botanical labels, but I’m sure that equally attractive labels could be made by cutting up magazines and slapping on a name, or even just printing out simple text labels on quality paper. Depending on the type of paper you use for your labels, you might need to adjust your adhesive strategy. I used a thick matte printer paper, and I was able to attach the labels to the tins with a thin coat of craft glue. Using a sticky-back printer paper would also work quite nicely.
Step 5: Make Final Adjustments.
If any of the lids on your tins are a little loose (a few of mine were), then just cut a small (1/2″) piece of masking tape and affix it to the inside of the tin’s lid. This provides a little more grip and resistance if it seems like there is any danger of your lid slipping off too easily. I also like to put a little label on the inside of the tin to note when and where I bought that particular spice.
Now you're ready to fill your tins, and stick them to your fridge or wall. Cheers, and happy cooking!
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