By ERIN TURNER
I love spices! With the right combination of spices you are almost guaranteed a winning dish.
For me, spices play an important role in cooking and determine the outcome of a meal.
I can add a little spice and create a Mexican meal or a little different spice and the meal ends up with an Asian flair. Spices are critical in cooking and they also have nutritional benefits. Including a variety of spices in your kitchen is an all-around good idea.
But the only problem is storing all those little jars, bags, or containers. I have an entire drawer dedicated to the little spice jars, a cupboard for all the unique spice blends, and large bulk spice containers and a deep drawer for all the bulk spices either I make myself or buy. (I told you I love spices!)
But my kitchen was being overtaken by them until I stumbled on a great idea I saw on Pinterest: Take old bottles and recycle them into spice containers.
It was a beautiful idea because it solved my storage issue, it looks awesome, and it was a no-cost project for me.
First of all, look at all your spices. If you’re like me, you may have a jar of one spice and a bulk bag of it as well. Long before my frugal days, I admit I would buy the jarred spices in the grocery store so now I have a collection of them.
I now buy fresher and less expensive spices from the Good Food Store or Mission General in Saint Ignatius. I also grow a lot of herbs and dry them (either in the sun or in a dehydrator).
When you buy in bulk or make your own, you typically use a ziploc bag so I use those old jars from the grocery store to hold the spices from the bags, but the bottles don’t hold a lot and they aren’t all the same size or shape which makes organizing them somewhat difficult.
So, first pull out all your spices and evaluate what you have and how many spices you have.
The next step is easy and free. I called my mother-in-law, who loves to indulge in Starbucks’ Frappaccinos. She saves those cute little bottles to recycle so I asked her to save about 20 of them for me. She even washed them for me…hooray! (I did have to use a little Goo-Gone to get the stickers off the front and back, but they were very easy to remove.)
Once they were cleaned up, I simply began to fill them up with all my spices. Ask around and see if anyone you know gets this type of bottle and ask for them to save you some.
My final task was to label them. The original idea on Pinterest was to etch the names of the spices onto the bottle. It looks super cool and I would love to do it but I honestly don’t have the time right now and I need my spice drawers organized so I did the next best thing…I made labels myself.
I went to Staples (remember my blog about this awesome store where you can get things for super cheap or even free?!) and used a coupon to get these adorable and classy Martha Stewart round labels. They are the perfect fit for the Starbuck’s bottles!
I wrote the names of the spices on the labels and then attached them to the top of the jar. These were for the jars that go in my deep drawer. You can put the labels on the jar itself for the ones which go in the spice cupboard.
I’m so happy with the results of my frugal Pinterest project!
I saved a bunch of money by using recycled bottles, I cleaned up a rather disorganized area of my kitchen and I now can see what spices I have quickly and easily.
Another bonus: My spices aren’t sitting in bags next to each absorbing one another’s odor. A few months ago I grabbed my bag of Allspice only to discover it had been next to the Cumin and I suddenly had “Cumin infused Allspice” – icky! Now that my spices are in jars, their aromas stay put and the spices also seem to stay fresher than sitting in a bag.
I love spices but today I think I love my frugal spice bottles more!
Where do you get your spices? Tell us which stores in Missoula carry the best spices with the best prices.
Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, and sticking to a budget in her previous posts: What I Love About Missoula, Frugal Living: Grow Your Own Food and Save Money, and Frugal Living: Eat Tapas, Cut Your Grocery Bill. Be sure to check out the Missoula Save it Club.
Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.