What is the shelf life of spices?
Well, most likely shorter than most of us keep ours.
I know I have a few in the cabinet that have been there longer than I can remember.
But then my memory is not what it once was.
Regardless, the other day I decides to clean out and organize my spice shelf.
Another very exciting day in CaiteLand!
For Christmas..not this last Christmas but the one before I think..the Sil gave me some of those pull out spice shelf thingies you see on the infomercials. Out everything came, and I was forced to take a look at them. Why do I have two whole jars of whole coriander? That seems excessive. Some others seemed a little aged, so I took to the Internet to get some ideas of who had to go.
Like that will happen. But if you do...
• Herbs (basil, oregano, parsley): 1 to 3 years
• Seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years
• Ground spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric): 2 to 3 years
• Whole spices (cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks): 4 years
• Seeds: 4 years (except for poppy and sesame seeds, which should be discarded after 2 years)
• Extracts: 4 years (except for vanilla, which will last forever)
I must say, I think those time are a bit generous. Not that I don't have ones older than that, but I think the faster you can use them, the better. I try, when I can, to buy whole spices and grind them as I use them. Nutmeg, I grate whole nuts on a micrograter. Grind pepper and coriander as needed, buy whole fennel and cumin seeds. And although it costs more, really, it makes sense to buy small containers except of the spices you use a lot of. And vanilla...since it seems to last forever! Maybe a gallon.
Of course, spices don't really go bad, they just lose their flavor. You can still use them but they will just not be as flavorful. So I sniff them. If you are not met with a nice spicy smell, time to buy a new one maybe.
Remember, the enemies of fresh spice flavor are heat, light, air, and moisture. So keep in airtight jars or cans, in a dark place and away from the heat of the stove.
By the way, I love my shelf thingies...so nice and neat.
This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.