Skip to main content

Martha by Mail Spice Rack

My spice rack always elicits comments whenever someone walks into my kitchen.  It was almost 8 years ago or so when I bought it from the now defunct Martha by Mail catalog (subsequently called The Catalog for Living).  I had always been captivated by an antique that Martha used at her Westport Television Studios many years ago, so when I discovered that she offered them through her exclusive catalog, I bought one.  At the time, the racks were offered in either a 30 spice version (5 shelves) or a 70 spice version (7 shelves).  They retailed for $169 & $359 respectively, exclusive of shipping & handling, and were available in Atlantic Green (also called Martha's Green), Drabware & Natural.

30 spice rack in Atlantic Green, 70 spice rack in Natural

30 Spice Rack Measurements: 24-7/8"L x 16-3/4"H x 3-3/8"Deep

The Martha by Mail catalog description stated: "This wood spice rack is styled after an antique one used in our TV studio.  The aluminum tins hold fresh-packed spices selected by our food editors."

The Spice Rack with 70 spices in Atlantic Green
Catalog # KSR 005

The rack measures 3" wide, 39" long & 22 3/4" high.
The spice tins measure: 2 1/2" wide by 1 3/4" tall.

The custard cups are antiques and weren't included.  I happened to be making my rounds one day at one of my favorite antique row shops in Philadelphia when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted 7 creamy-white custard cups (all with crazing).  A perfect match.

The original at Martha's Westport Television Studio.

Text below is from the pamphlet that came with the rack.

Martha's Spice Collection

Spices, the dried buds, barks, roots, seeds and berries of plants have always been so valuable that the search for the fastest trade routes to spice sources put the world as we know it on the map: Marco Polo went east for spices, Columbus went west.  The places they discovered had been using the spices they found for thousands of years.

It was the Romans who established the use of spices in the West.  Not until the eleventh and twelfth centuries, though, did spices gain a wide hold on the tastes of Western Europe.  Returning Crusaders brought back Eastern spices, mostly in Venetian ships.  Spices revived the bland medieval diet and helped to preserve food.  They also made maritime Venice rich: Rarities like pepper were literally worth their weight in gold.

This special collection of aromatic and savory spices and herbs has been selected by Martha Stewart and the food editors of Martha Stewart Living as the most frequently used in their recipes.  All of the spices and herbs listed here are included in the rack of seventy tins; those included in the smaller collection of thirty tins are identified by an asterisk.  Each aluminum tin is filled upon order for maximum freshness; refill them once they are empty with any spices you buy.  We've provided suggestions for using them, but we encourage you to experiment--the real beauty of spices is the brilliant way in which they blend.

Grinding Spices

Many of the spices have been left whole so you can grind them yourself as needed; this prolongs their freshness and flavor.  Toast whole spices briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat before grinding them.  Whole cinnamon and nutmeg can be grated easily with a small, finely perforated hand grater, and berries such as allspice can be ground in a pepper mill.  Some spices, such as star anise, are difficult to pound by hand.  An inexpensive electric coffee grinder is useful for these types and can also be used instead of a pepper mill for the berry spices.  Buy an extra coffee grinder especially for this purpose, to avoid the accidental cup of cardamom java.

If you use a coffee grinder for spices, clean it out occasionally to keep it in top condition.  Unplug the grinder; remove loose grounds with a pastry brush.  Place a piece of soft bread in the bowl; grind thoroughly.  Bread absorbs leftover oils and residues to ready the grinder for the next spice.



  1. Could you post what the labels look like

  2. The design is definitely nice. I've had contractors take measurements of it in order to build one themselves!

  3. Wow! That is one heck of a spice rack. And it looks so good with the custard cups on top.

    Have a great weekend.


  4. Hi Pru! You know, those British custard cups that I found at the antique store were sitting there, I want to believe, just for this purpose! Cheers to you dear & a great weekend too!!

  5. Does anyone know where I can get the spice rack that holds the 70 spices? My email thanks

  6. a 70 spice rack is ebay now:

  7. I was so saddened when Martha by Mail became defunct...does anyone know why? All the items were elegant, most reasonably priced, and the items themselves were usually high-quality. Had I known, when it was around, that it was going away, I very might well have taken out a loan and ordered 2 of everything I liked!

  8. Martha by Mail had become unprofitable and expensive to maintain, so it was shut down in 2004. I know what you mean about the quality of the products. There are so many things I wish I had bought, but alas... There's always ebay!


  9. I currently have this spice rack for sale, without the spices, i have had no luck in selling it, hmmmmmmmmm. I love it and hate to part with it, but after recently moving house, my new kitchen doesn't have the wall space to accommodate it, i tried to persuade my husband to use it in the garage for small storage (nails. screws etc) but he wasn't interested LOL. Ideas anybody?

    1. Liane, what size is the rack you're selling? I might be interested, even without the spices and containers! My name is Aimee and I will check this site in a few days to see if you're replied. Right now I can't reply under my Google name (argh!) so I'm "anonymous!" Maybe I can figure out a better way for us to get in touch with one another... .

    2. Hi Aimee, it is exactly the same as the one David has pictured with his custard cups, same colour everything.
      Thanks. Liane.

    3. I would be interested in buying one of you know if any available. I already have the tins. I’ve kept them all these years. Please let me know!!

  10. I'm not sure what to say, except that someone SHOULD buy it. Even without the spice tins, which by the way you can easily find & label yourself, the rack itself can be used a number of ways. Good luck!

  11. Hi, Liane! If you're still interested in selling, please contact me at this email [diehl (at)] with price and shipping information. (It's a normal email with the @ sign--just trying to avoid the spambots.) Thanks so much! Aimee

  12. Liane, I haven't gotten an email from you (and I've checked spam). Maybe you changed your mind and found a new use for it! If not, please email me at Thanks!

  13. I had forgotten about this simply elegant spice rack. I used to subscribe to the magazine and loved Martha's original television show. I can imagine this rack being used for more than spice tins. A clever woodworker(using the proper measurments)could create a rack for a coffee cup collection, perhaps?

  14. Trout, I also LOVED the old format of Martha Stewart Living. I agree about this particular spice rack being compatible for other areas of the house. I cherish it.

  15. This is one of several items from the Martha by Mail catalog I so regret not purchasing. I was too busy collecting the cookie cutters!

    I'm hoping to have a carpenter make me one now, but first I need to track down appropriate canisters. Could you please let me know the canister dimensions? Thank you so much for your help.

  16. Kristina, I just put the measurements in the blog post. If you want the exact tin go to one of my favorite stores, Fantes.
    Here's a link:

    It's the small tin: 2.5" diameter, 1.75" tall.

  17. I have been kicking myself for years because I didn't buy one of these racks. If anyone sees one for sale please let me know; otherwise I guess I'll have to make one myself. I just moved into a new house (a little bungalow built in the 20's) and it would be perfect for my kitchen. I also have a great site for tins (and they are cheap). You can get lids that screw on too. See here:

  18. Thank you so much for the measurements. Now must get the carpenter organized! K

  19. I'm also looking for this spice rack. Laine, did you sell yours? I'm interested if you didn't. Please e-mail me at

  20. Hello
    Interested in buying if you still have it.
    Thanks so much
    Ps or if anyone know where to get one
    Thanks again Christine

  21. I'm curious to find out what blog system you happen to be using? I'm еxperiencing some minor security problems
    with my latest websіte and I wоuld lіke tо finԁ something mоre
    safeguаrdeԁ. Do you have аny sοlutіons?
    Feel free to surf my homepage ... japanese knives

  22. Hi David. I have s replica of the 30 spice rack. A friend made for me years ago although the measurements aren't exact to the original. Is there anyway you can post the original measurements to the 30 spice rack? Thank you David and have a wonderful day!

  23. Coco, I will do that later today and add it in the post! Thanks for the reminder!

  24. Thank you David for the 30 spice rack measurements.

  25. I have one of these spice racks in natural wood. It is time for me to part with it. What is the value?


Post a Comment

Thank You for Posting!

Popular posts from this blog

Antique Salt Cellars

There was a time when salt cellars played an important role on the dining table for the host or hostess.  As a result of it being such an expensive commodity several hundred years ago, salt was seen as a luxury and it was the well to do that made salt cellars quite fashionable & a status symbol for the home.  A single salt cellar usually sat at the head of the table and was passed around throughout the meal.  The closer one sat to the salt cellar, the more important one was deemed by the head of the household.  Smaller cellars that were more accessible and with an open top became a part of Victorian table settings.  Fast forward to the 20th century when salt was no longer a luxury and when anti caking agents were added to make salt free-flowing, and one begins to see salt cellars fall out of fashion.  Luckily for the collector and for those of us who like to set a table with Good Things , this can prove to be a boon. Salt cellars for the table come in silver, porcelain, cut glass

Collecting Jadeite

With its origins dating back to the 1930s, jadeite glassware began its mass production through the McKee Glass Co. in Pennsylvania. Their introduction of the Skokie green & Jade kitchenware lines ushered in our fascination with this jade color.  Glassmakers catered jadeite to the American public as an inexpensive alternative to earthenware soon after the Depression, both for the home and for its use in restaurants.  The Jeanette Glass Company and Anchor Hocking introduced their own patterns and styles, which for many collectors, produced some of the most sought after pieces.  Companies marketed this beautiful glass under the monikers of jadite , jadeite , jade glass , jad-ite , jade-ite , so however you want to spell it, let it draw you in for a closer look.  If you want a thorough history of the origins of jadeite, collectors’ pricing, patterns & shapes (don’t forget the reproductions in 2000), I highly suggest picking up the book by Joe Keller & David Ross called, Jadei

A Tour of Turkey Hill with Martha Stewart and Friends

Martha Stewart led an intimate tour of her former Westport, Connecticut home and gardens for a few of my friends this past weekend.  From the photographs I've seen of that special day, it was an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime by those who were in attendance.  As much as I regret not going to this momentous occasion, my friends were kind enough to allow me to share their amazing photographs here on the blog. Let's take a tour of Turkey Hill with Martha Stewart and a few of my friends. Without the kindness of Jeffrey Reed, Dennis Landon, Darrin David, Anthony Picozzi and Colin Eastland, this post would not be possible.  It must also be stated that the fundraising event was graciously hosted by the current owners of Turkey Hill, the Bergs. Many thanks to the Berg family for opening up the property. Turkey Hill is the Federal style home that was purchased, renovated and landscaped by Martha Stewart and her then husband, Andy, back in 1970.  It was he