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Posted by on 4/2/2024


As you delve into your spring cleaning and organizational endeavors, don't forget to include your spice cupboard in your to-do list. It's recommended to periodically take stock of the herbs and spices nestled in your cabinet to ensure they maintain their flavor and potency.

Knowing what your spices looked, tasted, and smelled like when they were purchased is worth remembering. The paprika was very red in color and had a sweet spicy bite. Has it lost its color and become bland in flavor? The ability to recall the original condition is important in making the judgment call that a particular spice is no longer of value and needs to be replaced.

Whole spices, i.e. seeds, barks, and roots, typically have a longer shelf life than powdered ones, while leafy herbs have a shorter shelf life. Though a common rule is to purchase spices for no more than one year's use, with proper storage spices should last five years or more. Powdered herbs and spice blends with oil content (lemon pepper, etc.) should be used within one year. Spices that are of reddish color (chili family) such as paprika, cayenne, chili powder, and Cajun blends store longer and stay fresher if kept in the refrigerator. Chilis will oxidize at room temperature, turning reddish powders a lifeless brown.

Proper storage conditions are paramount for extending the shelf life of spices and herbs. They should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from the heat, in airtight containers. Glass is the ideal non-porous barrier for storing spices. Plastic or acrylic jars work well also; however, some plastic containers may suffer deterioration from oils or leach flavor from certain spices. Metal tins are popular, but their opaque nature conceals the condition of the contents.

With diligent storage practices, you can savor the full flavors of your culinary creations for years to come.

Typical shelf life of spices
Ground Spices:2-3 years
Green Herbs:6 months – 1 year
Whole Spices:3-4 years
Seeds:2-3 years
Spice Blends:1-2 years
Teas:6 months – 1.5 years
Salts, Peppercorns, Vanilla Extract:Indefinite Shelf Life

Any questions? We’re here to help.
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800-316-7965 - [email protected]

Atlantic Spice Company
2 Shore Road - North Truro MA 02652-0205 - USA

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