Refreshing the spice rack

My herb and spice drawer; click to see a larger version

Twelve years ago, I found nifty food-safe, windowed storage tins at Specialty Bottle at a great price and started storing my dried herbs and spices in them. I recently replaced the tins – the reason detailed below – and was happy to see the price had risen little in twelve years, so I sent a note to the company:

I just placed an order to replace the square tins I bought from you in August of 2005 – quantities exactly the same, forty large and ten small – and was pleased to find that the price went up just $7, from $53 to $60, so I’m writing to say thanks for keeping prices reasonable – it’s much appreciated.

I’m replacing my 12-year-old herb-and-spice tins because I’m putting waterproof laminated labels on the new set. I used inkjet-printed adhesive paper labels before and the ink has run on many of them, plus the adhesive is a bear to remove. For the still great price, it’s easier to replace than to spend several hours trying to clean glue off the old ones.

Thanks to you and The Spice House, I don’t have to take out a loan to have a well-stocked and perfectly organized kitchen.

I forwarded that email to The Spice House folks later, and both responded appreciatively.

Order from The Spice House; click to read the labels

To expound on the other half of this kitchen supply equation, I recently placed an order with The Spice House for eleven items, ten of which are pictured above (the ten whole nutmegs I also ordered were already in their tin). Most of these are 4 ounce/113g bags, four to eight times what’s in your typical supermarket herb/spice jar, but the price per ounce from The Spice House is perhaps a quarter to a third the per-ounce price of the McCormick, Spice Islands, and other brands typically found in US supermarkets. The bags at foreground right are 8 ounces/227g, an even better bargain. I’ll mention here that, in that bottom row, the toasted onion powder and roasted garlic powder are so far above untoasted and unroasted that they’re in an entirely different league – a fantastic one.

Here’s the bottom line: My Spice House order above (plus the nutmegs) was $75, with free shipping. A rough calculation tells me that the equivalent weights of the distinctly lower quality supermarket brands, much of which would have spent months in various warehouses and then gathering dust in the aisle, would cost at least $225 and probably closer to $300.

My ducks all in a row (you can’t easily see, but there are labels on both the covers and the fronts of all the tins); click to view a larger version

Postscript: I forgot to mention that I used the Brother PT-1230 USB label printer, small at 6 x 4 x 2″ and a relative steal at $30, to produce all those labels using their TZe231 1/2″ laminated black on white tape. However, be sure to read this Amazon reviewer’s notes on how to use it economically. You can use the printer without the (free) P-touch Editor software he discusses, but you’ll waste a lot of tape if you do.