Dried herbs and spices don’t last forever. They rarely go “bad”–as in make you sick if you use them–but they can lose their flavor over time. I am going to share with you the best way to store and organize them.
TEST SPICES FOR FRESHNESS:
- COLOR: Is the color still rich and vibrant? Old spices and herbs lose their color over time. If it looks old and faded, it probably is. THROW IT OUT!
- SMELL: Crush or rub them between your fingers. Is the smell strong like it should be? If the smell has lost its punch, they are likely too old to cook with. THROW IT OUT!
- TASTE: Taste a bit, you should be able to pick up on the staleness right away. If there’s no taste to it, it’s old. THROW IT OUT!
- CONSISTENCY: Is it clumpy or caked up? If so, moisture may have gotten into the container, which causes spices to lose flavor. Break it apart and taste it. If it still tastes good use it if not, THROW IT OUT!
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SPICE STORAGE:
- Whole & Seeds: 4 years
- Ground: 2 to 3 years
- Leafy Herbs: 2 to 3 years
- Seasoning Blends: 1 to 2 years
- Extracts: 4 years
STORAGE TIPS FOR SPICES:
- Keep spices in a cool, dark location. Above the stove is the WORST place to store spices!!
- It may be wise to buy spices in bulk (in small or larger quantities) to save a few bucks, cut back on packaging waste, but use your best judgement as to how often you will use a particular spice. If you have never used it and only need it for one recipe, maybe buy the small container.
- Refrigerate those from the red pepper family (paprika, cayenne and chili powder) to prolong their flavor and freshness.
- Keep them dry! Don’t use a wet measuring spoon to dip into the bottle and don’t hold the bottle near steam.
- As you buy new items, try getting into the habit of labeling the bottles and packaging with the purchase date–this will help you determine whether or not they are still good to use or if they’ve gone stale.
I hope this makes your kitchen a lot more spicy for a long time!
If you like the rack inside my kitchen drawer. I bought it from Expand A Drawer – Spice
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