How To Store Your Spices
Spices, like all other foods, do go bad. If you are an impulsive shopper and pick up new spices on every trip to the supermarket, or then are a Budget Babushka buying them in bulk, do so only for spices that are used often so that they stay as fresh as possible on your shelves.
How long do they last?
- Dried herbs will be fine for a year.
- Ground spices for a few months depending on the climate.
- Whole spices will keep for over 2 years but will slowly last losing their goodness. However, they last much longer than their powdered counterparts.
Keep looking, tasting and smelling spices for freshness. This is how you will notice the growing staleness and a gradual loss of their aroma and texture and use them up quickly.
Spices in freezer or cabinet?
Branded ground-spice packets/boxes/pouches last much longer in the refrigerator but there is always a danger of mould growing due to moisture. Open only what you will use in a short time. Avoid storing them in cupboards above cooking stove as heat can cause spices to spoil more quickly.
What is the best way to store them?
- Keep them in airtight containers in dark, cool places.
- Glass jars with tight fitting lids are perfect if you plan to store your spices in a cupboard.
- Be creative. People store spices in everything starting with test tubes and tic tac boxes to wooden and steel containers.
- If you manage to avoid the temptation of displaying them in their glorious colours showing themselves through the transparent bottles, try to put them in opaque bottles with labels to identify because some spices start going bad quickly with constant exposure to bright light.
- Don’t use a wet spoon even when in a rush. You will soon see lumps and cakey texture forming in the spices.
- It is a good idea to mark the date on the bottom of each container of spice. This ensures you don’t keep spices beyond their usefulness – a maximum of six months once a jar is opened.
- We usually place the most-used spices towards the front of the section of the pantry or cabinet, and the more occasional ones farther back. However, many at the back are simply forgotten. It’s necessary to shift them from time to time so you remember having bought them and use them.