spices

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Pamela Pamela
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spices

How does everyone deal with bulk spices?  What do you keep them in and what do you use to transport them home from the store?   Do you wait until your jar is empty and take it to refill?  I'm a little leery of bringing a bunch of glass jars to store as I take the bus and I'm afraid of breaking them.
Jay Jay
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Re: spices

I have several small fabric (silk, nylon) bags I use. Got them on Etsy since not much of a seamstress.
Wrennerd Wrennerd
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Pamela --

About six months ago, I read about the Indian solution to spice storage -- a masala dabba. Since I had never, up to that point, owned a spice rack or a matching set of spice containers, I decided I would finally spring for this. It is great because it contains 7 small bowls for spices, plus a couple of cute little spoons that fit inside the container. I bought two: one for savory spices and one for sweet/baking spices. I was finally able to get rid of all those expired, mismatched spice bottles and baggies and narrow it down to the ones I actually use the most. The hardest part is picking 7 of each, but I am very glad I did it. (I also have some fresh herbs growing on the porch, so I do have several other flavors to choose from.)

My containers are similar to this: http://www.amazon.com/Nagina-Stainless-Masala-Deluxe-Traditional/dp/B000JSO76Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1314236999&sr=1-1

Note that, if you were planning to take the individual bowls to the store with you for refills, you would need a cover that fit them. I haven't found one, but I suppose I could probably find something the right size if I looked hard enough... Maybe you could raid your neighbor's recycling bin ;

Here they are loaded; I store them stacked with a potholder in between.



Note that the Amazon options are very confusing -- some reviewers mention an "inner lid," and there are pictures of some that contain inner lids, but mine arrived without them. I would consider getting this version, as the pull ring on top would be helpful (it can sometimes be VERY difficult to remove my lids).

http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Masala-Deluxe-Traditional-SimplyBeautiful/dp/B000T3E96O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314238177&sr=8-1

I read the one review that mentioned storing dried fruit in these -- that sounds like a great idea for any bulk snacks that you don't want to buy a ton of! (I just measured -- each bowl holds 1/3 cup.) Am seriously considering whether it would be worthwhile to buy another one for that purpose...

Oh, and I haven't taken them to the store -- I am still using up my pre-ZW spices...
NatalieInCA NatalieInCA
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Make sure the opening of your jars/container is big enough for the scoop. Sometimes it gets tricky to fill-up jars. For that reason, I am going to switch to bags for some items. Don't worry about breaking them, never happen to me, but be aware it is noisy. I sometimes twine my cloth bags between the jars to limit the noise.

For small quantities, like dried fruits, I reuse small glass containers I saved over the years: coarse sea salt, specialty jam, foie gras, spices etc... I found an easy way to remove labels from glass containers so everything look neat.
Jay Jay
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This post was updated on .
Your point is spot on, NatalieinCA, regarding the scoop/jar opening issue, which is why I, too, chose to use bags;  FWIW, if you have a clean piece of paper, you can improvise a funnel for filling small mouthed jars with any free flowing herbs, then just use wider mouthed jars for bulkier ones, like Bay leaf. Ball makes 4 oz reg mouth, and 8 oz wide mouthed jars; Le Parfait has ~4 and 6 oz latch top jars.
Wrennerd's masala dabba has openings that look reasonable, though, and the idea of a forced limiting/simplifying of seasonings is really attractive!
Andrea Andrea
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I haven't had a chance yet to make myself any fabric bags for bulk items, although it's on my list of things to do.  In the meantime, I just use brown paper bags for pretty much everything I can.  You can get smaller ones for the herbs and spices and you can just write the codes straight on the paper.  It's been pretty convenient.  You can reuse them or you can compost them, and they are pretty cheap.
Andrea Andrea
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I haven't had a chance yet to make myself any fabric bags for bulk items, although it's on my list of things to do.  In the meantime, I just use brown paper bags for pretty much everything I can.  You can get smaller ones for the herbs and spices and you can just write the codes straight on the paper.  It's been pretty convenient.  You can reuse them or you can compost them, and they are pretty cheap.
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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I have been using Polaners All Fruit spreads for several years and saving the jars so my spices go into those. I refill them as they empty at my co-op which has scoops, funnels and large jars of spices to replenish my supply. These jam jars are very heavy duty so I don't fret about breakage.

If something smaller is needed, baby food jars would work, too. Just pick a flavor you can use up (pureed pears anyone? Easily added to a smoothie). I sometimes see 2/$1 so a case of 12 would be fairly inexpensive (and no shipping charge).

I haven't yet bothered to decorate or make fancy labels for the lids/jars. My collection of about 60 jars takes up 3 trays in a cupboard (in our old place they all fit in a drawer). While I like the look of Indian container system shown, I am a little apprehensive about everything smelling the same after awhile... I don't miss shaker tops since I either measure using measuring spoons or eyeball my spices in my favorite recipes.
coldswim coldswim
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I bring small paper envelopes from home to buy bulk spices but I don't buy much at any one time. I don't take glass to the store, I don't want to risk breaking it. Also I'd feel like a pompous ass refilling my own jars.

At home I use airtight glass jars.  There's nothing worse than bringing home bulk stuff and realizing later that it was infested with eggs or larvae. So if that happens, it's contained to one jar and the little buggers are not let loose inside my kitchen and pantry.

I lurk on a couple of cooking blogs where people post photos of their pantries and cabinets, and it makes me cringe to see people storing stuff in cardboard boxes, paper bags, cellophane bags (like those Bob's Red Mill products), or in Ziploc bags. Pantry moths can chew through plastic bags and I'm sure they can decimate paper. If you buy stuff in paper packaging like I do (flour, baking soda, pasta,  oats, whatever) or even in plastic, then get it out of the original packaging and store it in an  airtight container.  My best friend had a pantry moth infestation when she discovered the buggers had chewed through a plastic bag of lentils, so I learned from her.  I keep flour in my freezer in Lock & Lock, those airtight plastic containers are wonderful for storing grains. The freezer should also kill any eggs lurking in stuff you buy so you can throw it in the freezer for several days before putting it in the pantry.