You know how it goes: Kitchen inspiration strikes and you go rifling through your treasure trove of spices to locate that one jar of turmeric that you just know you have in there from the last time you made a curry.
The thing is, the last time you made a curry was during the Obama administration. The first Obama administration. The turmeric’s still in there, but the vibrant yellow is faded and it smells like turmeric’s dusty ghost. Gross. No homemade curry for dinner tonight.
A nifty product pitch on Kickstarter is trying to save us from those little spice-cabinet tragedies. Occo aims to sell ground spices in sealed, quarter-teaspoon servings so that each time you reach for a hit of, say, fennel, it’s way fresher than what you’d get out of a bottle that’s been sitting around. The idea is similar to Dorot frozen cubes of garlic and herbs, but with ground spices.
After they’ve been opened, spices lose flavor over the course of months. Oxygen and light exposure are the main culprits — meaning those jars you buy at the grocery store can easily go to waste (unless you’re a culinary tornado). And replacing your spices a couple times a year for freshness’s sake is pricey.
Occo fixes that problem by keeping small amounts of spice fresh until the moment they’re ready to use. For a $40 pledge to the Kickstarter, Occo offers an “essential collection” of 12 spices, or for $15 you can get a three-spice mini collection. Right now, the products are scheduled to ship in June — Occo’s blown past their initial $18,000 goal and now have nearly $74,000 pledged.
“This seems like wasteful packaging,” you might say, as I did. Occo’s founders somehow read our minds and their spices come in recyclable aluminum. And if you don’t use the full amount of a spice in six months, that’s OK. It’ll still be ready when you are, unlike an ancient jar of turmeric that only has a couple teaspoons missing.