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Although my kitchen is small I have lots of cupboard space and plenty of shelves, of course every bit of space is filled with utensils, pottery and pans which are used on a regular basis. I love unusual styles of jars and tins with motifs on. The jars I use for storing herbs and spices in and the tins I use for fruit teas and other kinds of exotic concoctions. Last year when my mother in law came to stay she noticed that my herb shelves were overflowing and cluttered and suggested buying a carousel spice rack. I thought it was a good idea but never did anything about it. One arrived for Xmas as a gift from her and this is what I have to say about it.
~~~Let's start with a product description~~~
This is a steel framed spice rack that is split into four sections each holding 3 jars of Schwartz herbs and spices (12 in total). The revolving steel frame is quite light weight whereas the base is solid steel, firm and doesn't slip or lean over. The jars are easily removed from the rack and the rack spins well, a little too fast at times.
The 12 jars are made from good, solid glass with turquoise and orange, hard plastic tops (6 of each colour). Herbs/ spices that came with my rack were: basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, mixed spice, cinnamon, ground ginger, chilli powder, marjoram, ground black pepper and ground cumin.
The dimensions of the carousel are approximately 8.8 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches. Weight including jars - just under 2kg.
~~~Does it do the job?~~~
Let's start with the rack first before we go on to the spice jars. The rack is a good size, compact, unobtrusive and will be fine sat on most work tops provided they are not cluttered up with other appliances like toasters and kettles. The rotating base and stacking design make it simple to access the herb you are looking for. It will blend well with most work surfaces and counter tops especially granite and black appliances. The rack is easily cleaned by removing all the bottles and immersing the empty rack into a bowl of washing up liquid and warm water and afterwards drying with kitchen roll or a tea cloth. I find this is the best way to clean it. If you just dust it every now and again or go over it with a damp cloth you will find that dirt accumulates in the corners of the rack.
~~~Now for the jars, spices and herbs~~~
Schwartz are a reputable make and from what I can remember you can easily purchase their spices and herbs from most supermarkets in UK. I am unable to buy this brand in Warsaw but it doesn't really matter as I replace the jars when they are empty with herbs and spices I can buy here. The original collection of spices, mentioned above were a little dull, what I would call a very basic selection. The first thing I did when I opened the rack was to open all the jars to see if the herbs/spices were fresh. Yes, they were all okay. If you don't use or don't like the selection that comes with the carousel then you can easily replace them with herbs of your choice, like I did.
The individual jars stack on top of each other, the bottoms of each jar have a cap sized indentation so they stay firmly on the jar below. This stops the jars from falling over when you spin the carousel.
The jars seal well and the tops which contain a shaker/pourer option all snap tightly and close perfectly.
Cooks who are strict about measurements may find a slight problem with the design of the jar. As the herb/spice diminishes and the bottle empties you will have difficulty removing the herb even if you pop the shaker cap off to insert a teaspoon. I'm not strict about measurement of herbs and spices, I naturally know how much to use just by shaking the jar and letting the herbs fall freely out.
I like the orange and turquoise colour of the tops as they blend in with my kitchen and the added colour of the spices and herbs make an attractive centrepiece for any kitchen.
If you place the carousel close to your cooker top you will find that the tops of the jars get greasy easily so I suggest you clean the jars and the tops regularly with soapy water and a damp cloth.
Some people may find that filling the jars is cumbersome. I buy replacement herbs in packets, cut the top off the packet and pour slowly into the jar. I do get some spillage at times but I find this is a better way of doing it than with a teaspoon.
Spices and herbs should really be stored in a cool, dark place as they go stale very easily. They don't have time in my kitchen to go off but if you don't use them regularly I suggest placing the spice rack in a darkened corner and not next to a window or somewhere where light streams in.
After having the carousel in my kitchen for six months I have grown to be very fond of it. With the amount of cooking we do in my kitchen we use more than 12 jars of herbs/spices so I still have a lot more stacked in wacky jars on shelves with all my cookery books. However, I think this is a good present for someone who is new to cooking and also a good gift for a new home owner and also for anyone who needs to replace new spice jars.
I'm not sure how much my spice rack cost as it was a gift but I see there is a retail price of £21.32 on Amazon.co.uk. I think this is a good price as I am sure I would have to pay more than that if I had to buy 12 individual jars filled with herbs.