We Need A Spice Bank

Ah, the things that happen when you move often…  Every move, I decide it is a good time follow the recommendations and throw out my old herbs and spices.  You know what that means, right?

rows of spice jars

It means that I spend the next year either:

  1. starting a recipe only to discover that I don’t actually have the right seasonings,
  2. buying random spices that I think I might need, but never actually use, or
  3. purchasing a whole cupboard of expensive ingredients when I might only use a teaspoon.

I admit, it isn’t just spices, it is also other infrequently used foods such as molasses, sesame oil, panko, and tahini.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much worcestershire sauce I’ve thrown out in the last 17 years.

I’ve got an idea, though, and I think it could work.  We should have a spice sharing bank! One collection of odd spices could be shared amongst a number of families.  Yes, it might be a little less convenient to have to obtain two Tablespoons of coriander seeds, but at least you wouldn’t have a nearly full bottle of wasting away in your kitchen.  If you only had to keep the spices that you use on a regular basis, you would free up room in your kitchen and save some money, too.

I’m envisioning some sort of plastic box, maybe a little larger than a shoe box, that contains all the spices.  I’m not sure where it would be located; I think the details would be different for different situations.  Our first duty station, long ago, was an aviation squadron and we all lived near each other.  One generous and accommodating person could easily keep it in a closet somewhere and be available to share, or even bring it to events where people could stock up for upcoming meals.  In Hawaii, we lived in a community of base housing…a street could have easily shared all their spices.  Yes, it would be a little inconvenient for the person who kept the spices, but they’d have easy access and they’d always have company!  At a relaxed command, it could maybe even be kept at the office – people are there everyday anyway, and there wouldn’t be as much pre-planning necessary.

Yes, most of us already do this informally, borrowing a teaspoon full of dill when we run out, but I think that the general expectation is that people will keep their own supplies of spices.  We could decrease waste by working together, and definitely save money along the way.

Think it will work?

photo by enigmachck1

This article was also posted at SpouseBUZZ.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Jamie

    Panko is actually remarkably useful for chicken strips or adding a crunchy top to pasta dishes. As far as the spice bank, worldspice.com is useful for keeping smaller amounts of spice on hand other than the pre-bottled amounts, and smaller, refillable bottles can be had from any site online for canning and jarring enthusiasts. (I have the inverse – a huge collection of spices in larger custom jars)