Fortunately spices don’t go stale but over the period of time they lose the potency, aroma and flavor. Whole spices can last up to 4 years whereas ground spices stay good for a year. Air, light, moisture & heat affect the strength of spices therefore it is important to store spices in dark, air tight containers away from direct sources of heating.
Where to Store Spices & Dried Herbs?
Experts recommend to avoid buying in bulk. Buy in limited quantity so that spices & dried herbs remain fresh & strong until they last. It is a personal choice if you want to keep your spices hidden inside a cabinet or prefer the other way round by displaying a beautiful rack of spices on the counter top.
Some spice jars could be taking a lot of extra space on your counter and make it look over-crowded. Tupperware Salt N Spice set has a capacity of 1 cup (500 ml) i.e. ideal for keeping ground & whole spices.
DONTs of Storing Spices
- Don’t store spices near dishwasher, stove top or at a window facing sunlight.
- Do not store near sink, heating vent or above microwave and refrigerator
- Do not refrigerate your spices even though many people would suggest you to. Although refrigerator keep spices at low temperature in dark, the condensation in the fridge affect the spices adversely. However, refrigerating colored spices such as paprika, chilli powder & red pepper in fridge helps with color retention, especially in hot & humid climate.
Storing spices in small air tight containers/jars inside pantry or kitchen cabinets is the most ideal solution. Make all efforts to prevent moisture from entering into your stored spices.
How to Test the Freshness of Spices?
- For ground spices, sniff to test the freshness. If it still smell strong & flavorful; it is still potent.
- For whole spices such as cardamom, black peppercorns or cinnamon sticks, test the freshness by crushing them in between your fingers and thumb. The aroma that will be released let you decide if it is still worthy using them.
Consuming old spices don’t make you sick at stomach but the lost efficacy will kill the purpose of using them. If you fear, your spices have been sitting there for too long, use them while you grill the good. Grilling will draw out the last bit of flavor & potency from your old spices.
How do you store spices and herbs? Do you have fancy containers or do you stock them in their original packaging?