June 27, 2014
How to store spices? It’s not an art, nor a science. Everyone has a method to the madness of a cupboard bursting with Indian spices. Here is mine.
I binned the metal container years ago in favour of dishwasher-friendly jars that hold more substantial quantities.
But beware of sacks of ultra large spice bags. Unless you are inviting my extending family around for lunch regularly, they will quickly lose punch. Not too mention hog precious cabinet space.
How do you keep yours?
In a famous balti curry book I came across some 3 recipes for making masala paste, similar to the ones you can buy ready made which are cooked/preserved in oil and last long time if keep in the fridge.
So toasting, grinding, wetting and warming the spices in oil is a result that I love to shorten the time each time I make a curry.
I wander if it will be good to make the same process using only the spice ingredients for making, korma, bhuna, or other curries, and to finish them adding the rest of the ingredients at the time of cooking.
I will like your opinion on if it is best to keep the masalas paste dry or wet in oil.
I enjoy your blog and find interesting your approach to cooking, I am Spanish and love Indian food.
If I ever make a spice paste it is usually wet and I use half and save half in the freezer for later. By way of a note: Balti cooking is not Indian, it’s a British invention! M x
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Useful tips, thank you! Kilner jars full of spices look so pretty too
Ha ha Renuka, that pretty much seals your position as head kitchen honcho!
Hi Cindy, I am most intrigued! Is that the whole spices or the powdered ones too?
Hi Hanna, I use little glass jars that are sold most economically in Ikea. The bigger ones are tradtionally kilner jars and they wash like a dream in the dishwasher. Does this help?
What kind of jars do you use to store the spices? Are they airtight? I am looking for glass jars to replace my plastic containers I use now and would love to know what kind you use and if you have suggestions for the brands?
We keep ours in the freezer! A chef in a cooking class once recommended this to me for extending their freshness. They’re all in little stackable plastic containers that I can wash and relabel as needed.
Ditto for the higgledy piggledy collection of jars – except mine is a mix of baby food and jam jars – and for the big whiff before use. Husband begs me to figure out what is what and label’em so he can cook in peace but hey, 25 days a month in the kitchen makes me the primary user, right?
Hi Boon, good thinking! I tried that with empty coffee containers but soon got a higgledly piggledy collection of jars!!
Hi Selma, I know what you mean with moving bottle around! And I forgot to mention I don’t label spices, so dhania, jeera and garam masala often get opened for a big whiff before use :-/
I used to use those Bonne Mamman jam jars – they fit perfectly in my kitchen drawer so I used to stick a label on top of the red gingham lids. It was a brilliant way to store and see where everything was too. Alas, we moved and the drawers in the new kitchen are shallower so the jars don’t fit… Now I use little Kilner clip top jars in various sizes. They are in a wall cupboard and I have to shift lots of bottles around to get to what I want!
I wash out jam jars, my husband makes a label and we use them for our spices!