The layout of your kitchen and where you have available storage space will have a big impact on where you can put your spices, but there are a few key factors that should always be taken into consideration.
1. Keep spices away from heat, cold, sunlight, and moisture.
Many people keep their spices on the counter or over the stove for ease of access, or to save cabinet space, but this is a sure way to make your spices go bad prematurely or lose potency. Heat and light will dry out the oils, sapping the flavor from your spices. And if the spices are over the stove, steam from boiling water can get into the containers, leading to issues with mold and rot.
If spices need to be away from light and heat, it would make sense to put them in the fridge, right? After all, the fridge and freezer extend the life of other plant products! However, putting spices in the fridge or freezer makes them susceptible to water damage, as condensation forms easily in the cold temperatures, and constantly moving the spice from the cold of your fridge to the relatively warm air of your kitchen can cause them to degrade more rapidly.
Avoid exposing your spices to fluctuations in temperature, and keep them from getting damp. Spices should be stored in a cool (not cold), dry, dark space.
2. Store your spices at an easily reachable height.
It can be tempting to try and save space by tucking your spices away in a high cabinet or on a bottom shelf in your cupboard, but if you have to constantly stretch or bend down to reach your spices, you’re much less likely to use them—or even remember which spices you own.
By keeping your spices in a place where you can quickly assess your inventory and easily grab what you need while cooking, you’re less likely to have spices go bad or buy duplicates. And you’re more likely to remember to add the right flavors when cooking!
Prioritize putting your spices between hand and eye level.
3. Be efficient with your storage space.
Especially if you’re an avid cooker with a small kitchen, the amount of spice varieties you own might threaten to take over the room. Even if you have plenty of space, it’s wise to choose a storage method that keeps your spice collection discreet and compact. It should be simple to find the spice you need without knocking over five or six other containers, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice prime cabinet space to do so.
Choose a spice rack that will let you clearly see what spices you have, pull out the one you need, then put everything back in a way that won’t clutter up your kitchen.