A spice rack is a stable feature of every kitchen – yes, even if you never cook. Face it, it looks good and it makes you look like you do cook.

Spice racks are sold in department stores, specialty stores, kitchen accessory stores, and online. Keep in mind these items also make nice house warming gifts, or any-occasion gift for a person that likes to cook.

Spice racks come in several different sizes and styles: wood, metal, plastic, and acrylic. They also come in countertop style, wall mounted style, and in drawer style.

So the next question is after purchasing a spice rack, what spices should be placed in it? Some spice racks can be purchased with spices included in nice containers (again in either wood, metal, plastic, or acrylic). Some spice rack continues has the type of spice preprinted on the top of each of the individual containers.

Spices are defined as a dried seed, root, bark, fruit, leaf or vegetables used in small quantities to add flavor or color to your food. You will commonly find the following spices in a spice rack, especially if you purchase a spice rack that already contains spices: rosemary, dill seed, basil, bay leaves, cardamom, caraway, marjoram, paprika, parsley, thyme, mustard powder, and tarragon. Refills of these spices can be found at grocery stores, gourmet stores, health and organic food stores, and online.

o Rosemary – used to flavor roasted poultry, fish, meat, and vegetables.
o Dill seed – used in spreads, salads, vegetables, stews, soups, and pickling.
o Basil – used to flavor stuffing, soup, stews, sauces, poultry, fish, and meet.
o Bay leaves – used in many dishes throughout the world, particularly in soups, sauces, and stews or seasoning of fish, meat or poultry.
o Cardamom – used mainly in dishes from the Near and Far East.
o Caraway – used mainly in dishes from Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe,a d Scandinavia.
o Paprika – used mainly with Hungarian dishes, used in the rest of the world as a garnish.
o Parsley – used to flavor soups, sauces, stews, rice dishes, vegetables, and fish.
o Thyme – used to flavor beef, lamb, veal, fish, poultry, stuffing, vegetables, and casseroles.
o Mustard powder – used to flavor developed eggs, beets, barbecue sauces, baked beans, and many meat dishes.
o Tarragon – used to flavor salads, tartar sauces, and veal.

There are advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a spice rack that already contains spices. The advantage of purchasing one with spices included is that you will not need to purchase them individually which would be an added expense, and take the time to individually fill each container. On the other hand, if you purchase the rack without the spices included, and the containers do not have the names of the spices preprinted on them, you can fill the spice containers yourself with the spices that you use most frequently.

The benefits of having a spice rack in your kitchen, assuming you do cook, is most definitely organization and the convenience of having all of your spices in one location, and a space saver in a kitchen that can all too easily become cluttered. Just a word of advice on the location of your spice rack, do not place it too closely to the stove because heat from the stove can be harmful to the potency of the spices.

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