Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Fifty-Nine!

Have you ever wondered how long your spices remain fresh?  Six months?  A year?  Two years?  More?   Herbs and ground spices are generally good for six months to a year while whole spices may still be good for up to two years.  Each spice is different and the flavor components will all dissipate at different rates.  The best test: just give it a sniff.  If it smells strong and spicy, then use it; if not, then it might be time to replace it.

When it comes to preserving your spices there are certain rules to follow to ensure that they remain fresh: heat, light, moisture, and air will all speed up the loss of flavor and color.    Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Glass/barrier plastic containers are very good
  • DO NOT store spices near a heat source
    • examples of where NOT to store include the top of: the stove, the dishwasher, the refrigerator, or the microwave; near the sink or a heating vent
  • Avoid the light (store in a cupboard or drawer, if you use a spice rack on a counter-top, keep out of direct sunlight)
  • Store in a cool environment (refrigerator/freezer) when possible
    • Exception: vanilla beans and extract

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