We have a second home (a ski condo in the mountains) and I am constantly filling up Ziplock bags with various spices for cooking. Why don't I just leave the spices up there? you ask. We rent the condo out and on more than one occasion, I've searched for my crushed red pepper, only to find that a renter used the last of it on his pepperoni pizza slice. To solve my problem (and to be a little more kind to the environment), I created this Portable Spice Kit.
It's only 6 inches x 1.5 inches and it easily fits in any tote bag or suitcase that I'm lugging back and forth. It would be the perfect gift for the frequent traveler* or an outdoor lover who spends their time camping, but doesn't want to give up the luxuries of cooking with spices.
*I would check with the airlines to see if you can carry on spices. Not sure of the current regulations for powdery substances on flights.
To create this project, head to your local Walgreens, CVS or other drug store. I perused the racks until I found the section for the 7-Day Vitamin/Medication Containers. They had two sizes, and in my case the $2.99 (Large) size was perfect for what I needed.
Notice the little key in the upper right corner of the package? This indicates a locking mechanism - great for ensuring that your cayenne pepper doesn't end up popping open in your backpack - creating a week's worth of flourescent orange underwear.
When you open it up, you'll notice that each day's lid also has raised dots on the corner - braille to indicate the day for the visually impaired. For our purposes, the braille will get in the way.
Find your strongest pair of nail clippers and get to work clipping those dots off. Place the clippers as close to the surface as possible to remove as much of the raised plastic as you can.
Then get our your emery board (or buy a pack of the cheapies for $0.99) and get to work sanding the lids to a smooth finish. You could also use sandpaper for this, but I was too lazy to walk to the garage to get some. The emery board worked perfectly.
This is what the lids will look like when you're finished. Don't worry about the scratches. Your labels will cover this right up.
Now comes the fun part. I found vintage spice and canned vegetable labels and adapted them in Photoshop so that each would contain the name of one of my chosen spices. My seven containers hold: Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper (can you tell that we like spicy food in our family), Oregano, Ginger, Dill and Garlic Salt. You could definitely find your own and adapt them for your use, or feel free to download my complete PDF file here. Print the file out on 8.5"x11" full sheet labels. You'll see that the file prints with trim lines already in place. (If you're using my file, you'll need to find a vitamin container with lids that are 5/8"(w) x 1"(h) to ensure proper fit of the labels.)
Get our your straight-edge and Exacto knife and trim each label to size.
Apply the labels carefully. Make sure that they are fully adhered or the paper will bubble and curl when you apply the Mod Podge. Here's what it will look like with all of your labels in place.
Cover each label with two generous coats of Mod Podge to seal the lids.
Allow it to dry thoroughly. (You can see that "Ginger," in the foreground, started to bubble after the Mod Podge was applied. Just push the bubbles down gently with your finger nail and reapply another coat of Mod Podge to remove any fingerprints.)
Here's a close-up of the final product after the Mod Podge is dry.
Pop open those lids and fill with your favorite spices. Each container is big enough to hold approximately 2 teaspoons of each spice. Not enough to season a whole vat of stew, but enough to makes sure that two boys have cinnamon toast for breakfast and Mommy gets her salmon seasoned just right!
Be sure to send me pictures of your final product at sara(at)thehandyhausfrau(dot)com.