Dried spices are full of flavor and can last you for some years. Dried spices are also useful in the kitchen when you don’t want to use fresh spices. They are also helpful when creating spice blends and special rubs for grilling, roasting and barbecuing your favorite foods.
So, how long do spices last?
Before you answer the question, let’s consider storage conditions, usage, and brand.
Spices, in general, do not spoil, they lose their aroma or intensity after some years. They will rot if not properly used. What do I mean by that? When measuring, pouring, or spooning dried spices, it is critical to use dried utensils. If you stored your dried spice in a jar, a clean dried spoon is recommended. When you use wet or dirty tools or measuring spoons, not only you are contaminating the spices, you are also shortening the shelf life.
As far as which brand you should buy, consider doing some research. Ask your friends and family members what brand of spices they buy. When shopping always look at the brand(s) people buy the most. And, lastly, don’t forget to check the list of ingredients on the containers.
The shelf life of spices vary. Dried herbs usually stay fresh about 1 t o3 years if stored properly. Whole spices will stay fresh for about four years if stored properly and ground spices about 2 – 3 years. Depending on both the type and storage conditions, they will not lose their aroma or potency quickly. As long as you use them within the allowed time, your food will be flavorful.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to maximize your spices shelf life:
- buy your spices in bulk to save money if you cook or bake a lot
- keep them in containers with tight-fitting lids to retain their aroma
- always store in dried, cool area, away from sunlight
- keep the containers away from the stove
- always make sure your container is properly closed
- if your storebought spice container has an expiration date, you can follow it
- perform taste/aroma test by rubbing or crushing the spices or herbs between your fingers or hands depending on size. If the smell is weak, disregard and replace
Before throwing away your dried herbs, whole spices, and ground spices, inspect the container, and do a taste test.