Happy New Year! Kick off the new year by cleaning out your pantries! I spent several hours going through all the spice and herbs in the pantry and tossing out all the expired spices and spices without labels. It was a chore. I found spices that expired in 2012! When food is prepared with spices the spices should taste fresh and smell fresh.
Here is a helpful guide by McCormick:
Spice Storage Tips
The freshness of spices and herbs can be maintained longer if they are stored in airtight containers.
- Keep away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These elements hasten the loss of flavor and aroma of spices and herbs. Avoid storing over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window.
- Spices should not be stored in the freezer. Freezing does not extend the shelf life of regularly used dried spices and herbs. If stored in the freezer, and repeatedly removed for use, condensation will form in the bottles and accelerate loss of flavor and aroma.
- Always close spice containers tightly after each use.
General Freshness Guidelines for McCormick Products
Your McCormick products will deliver the best flavor if used within these guidelines.
- Ground spices – 3 years
- Whole spices – 4 years
- Herbs: 1-3 years
- Seeds: 4 years, except poppy seeds and sesame seeds: 2 years
- Extracts: 4 years, except vanilla extract, which has an unlimited shelf life
- Seasoning blends/mixes: 1-2 years
How to Optimize Freshness
- Spices and herbs that are whole maintain their freshness longer than those that are ground.
- Spices and herbs do not spoil but they do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste they should.
- Spices and herbs will keep for a long time if they are stored in airtight bottles. The shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 4 years for whole spices, 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb.
- There are three checks to use when verifying freshness–look, smell and taste. A visual check for color fading is a good indicator of flavor loss. Taste and smell your spices and herbs; if a fresh odor or taste is not apparent, they need to be replaced.
- Do not sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam introduced into the bottle will hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Steam will also result in caking of contents.
- Make sure your measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the bottle. Moisture introduced into the bottle will also result in caking and flavor loss.
I purposefully buy only organic McCormick spices and organic spices from other brands. The label should also reveal the expiration date and if the spice is Non-GMO. If possible grow your own spices! I grow basil and rosemary outside and support my local AZ farmers who growing spices. If outside is difficult there is this lovely WindowFarm Project started by Britta Riley which helps you grow your own food inside your home.
Celebrating Over 10 Years of Daily Eats! Thank you readers for making everyday delicious and delightful!