Spice Rack

I’m sure this is highly uninteresting to most people, but this is one of the things that’s been keeping me busy lately.  We built a new spice rack!  I am almost embarrassingly excited about it.

For years, my spice collection has been growing as such things will: slowly and imperceptibly.  You buy a little of this and a little of that for various recipes, until one day you realize that half your spices are being stored in the cabinet above the oven, dying inglorious deaths in the heat therein.  I had long known that the tiny, two-tier lazy Susan that had laughably served as the primary storage location was no match for my collection; but it was only after a tally that I realized exactly what I was up against.  Yes, for my fifty-seven (!) spices, I needed something serious.

I’d seen wall-mounted spice racks, which I liked the look of, and it seemed like that solution would easily accommodate the largest number of containers with a minimum amount of real estate taken up, a real concern in our 500 square feet.  It had to hang on one particular wall, right behind the back door, across from the stove.  Complicating things, the breaker box is on that wall, so we couldn’t install anything permanent or that couldn’t be easily removed.

We built a simple frame from poplar boards and dowels, stained dark, and designed it specifically to accommodate a tin that I found for reasonably cheap online.  The tins are big enough to hold a ridiculous amount of any given spice, somewhere around 1 cup or so.

The tins are fairly air-tight, but more importantly, keep light away from the fragile spices.  A printed label unifies the look, and prevents any mix-ups, as can happen when your unlabeled bag of aniseed looks dangerously similar to the unlabeled bag of celery seed.  (Turns out those two are not interchangeable in the slightest, and your coleslaw will be ruined.  Do not think you are impervious to such mistakes, either; it is hubris, and you will be punished for it.)

As an added bonus, I now have plenty of breathing room in the cabinet for my oils, vinegars, and other liquid seasonings.  Who knew I had tarragon vinegar?

With all my spices carefully labeled and organized (alphabetically, of course), and knowing exactly what I have on hand, I feel absolutely inspired to get back in the kitchen and (ahem) spice things up.  It’s hard to believe that I went for so long with such a crucial part of my culinary arsenal in such disarray.  You may notice there’s a few empty spots towards the bottom of the rack; obviously, I had to leave room for the collection to grow.  At least now, I won’t feel bad about bringing home a new spicy friend, since I won’t have to store him over the stove anymore.

Here are some unglamorous before and after shots:

before

after

before, no hope of shoving anything else in

after, plenty of room!

above the stove before, spices in unlabeled bags shoved into tins

before, all the bags of spices from above the stove; those tins are crammed full

above the stove after, the tins are empty!

after, all my pretty spices in their new home

3 Comments

  1. Anu
    March 30, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Hi Beth,
    This is simply fantastic! It is such an ingenious piece of work, I cant help but admire the creativity and craftmanship that went into building this.
    One question…from the pictures it looks like the base of each shelf is made of dowels.How many dowels did you use for each shelf? I could see two but would that be sufficient to prevent the container from slipping through the gap between the dowels?

  2. Beth
    April 1, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Anu: You’ve got good eyes; there are two dowels. And yes, it’s plenty to keep them from slipping.

  3. Matt
    March 26, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    This idea was awesome and went through and created a replica of it. Thanks so much for putting this online. The commercial ones were always too small. IMG_0885.JPG

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