A traditional spice rack is designed to mount to the wall, to display your spices and their colorful contents and keep those spices within easy reach so you can grab them and amend your dishes as you cook. These ideas can help you find and set up a traditional spice rack in your own kitchen.
A truly traditional spice rack is a small, wooden rack that has two to three rows of spices. The spices are traditionally contained in round glass jars, all of the same height and width, and the jars are held in place by small wooden railings. It's likely that you can find the rack itself in any thrift shop or garage sale you stumble upon, but it's unlikely that you'll find the matching jars. Small glass jars are easy to find at any wholesale kitchen supply store. Fill with spices and make your own matching labels for easy selection. As a variant on this idea, choose metal spice jars with screw-on lids. Some spices can deteriorate when exposed to light; metal jars will help them retain their flavors for longer. Spices also deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, so don't hang your spice rack directly above your stove. This may be the traditional place to hang the rack, but it's not the best idea for your spices. If your bargain-hunting results in a spice rack that's full of spices, it's best to replace the spice contents with fresh spices. Most spices lose their flavor in a year or two.
Traditional spice racks also come in tabletop formats, with several columns of spices aligned in a tower glued to a spinning base. This makes it easy for you to spin the column about and look for the spice of your dreams by reading the label on the top of the spice jar. Once again, these spice racks are easy to find at thrift stores and garage sales, and some high-end kitchen stores offer modern interpretations of this theme.
Traditional spice racks simply do not hold very many spices. The modern cook uses many more spices that homemakers did in previous decades. To make your spice rack truly useful, determine how many spices you'll be able to display and walk through your spices, looking for spices you use the most frequently. Consult your favorite recipe book for more information. Store your rarely used spices in their jars in the freezer. They'll keep longer, even though they don't have a home on your rack. To keep your traditional spice rack looking clean and tidy, make sure to refill the spice jars with fresh spices, rather than replacing the spice jars with new, mismatched jars from the grocery store. A traditional spice rack has matching contents, not a jumble of clashing styles. Go through your spice rack once per year, making sure your spices still hold their flavors and haven't deteriorated in any way. You may find you're not using some spices in your rack while you're always diving for the freezer-stored spices.