Spices have always been the heart of the kitchen, and though amateur or skilled, every chef understands the reasoning of well-stocked ingredients. These well-stocked cabinets with spices are the basic step to managing the kitchen.
Even while stocking, one of the main concerns is whether the stocked spices will ever go bad or expire. However, they actually never go bad, but they will lose their flavor, aroma, and potency. Yes, they lose freshness over time.
Having said these, spices are not collected only for their flavors but also for their health benefits. Therefore, if you have started collecting spices, you might as well do it the right way. Likewise, if you always wonder when they will expire or go bad, follow this article to know when to toss the spices.
How Long Does A Spice Last? Do They Go Bad?
No, spices do not have a fixed expiry date, and their stocked life depends upon their types, methods of preparation, and storing facility. Furthermore, the expiration is also dependent on the types, as we say, which includes whether they are dried herbs, powdered or grounded spices, whole spices, and extracts.
If you make sure to well stock these dried herbs properly in an airtight container, they will typically last for 1-3 years. To make it last this long, you should store them in a cold place, keeping them away from heat and humidity.
Some of the examples of these dried herbs include the following.
Among other spices, powdered or grounded ones are the quickest to lose their freshness. Since they have more surface area, hence, they also oxidize faster. Usually, they do not last any longer than six months.
If you are forward to checking whether they have gone bad or not, you should only give them a slight whiff. While doing so, if they do not give off any aroma, then yes, it is time to let them go. Some of the grounded spices include the ones mentioned below.
In this category, the whole spices or seeds can be raw or moist. Well, whole spices can last as long as four years, however, but if you see the whole seeds ingredients like poppy, sesame, or caraway seeds, they do not last that long.
This is because these ingredients usually consist of oil that shortens their lifespan. Moving on, hard and dry spices such as mustard, fennel, cumin, and so on last for about three years. However, moist and raw spices such as raw sesame seeds only last for about a year.
Altogether if you wish to make them last much longer, you should toast them for a while and store them in an airtight container. Here, salt is a whole exceptional spice that can be used indefinitely if stored correctly. Few of the whole spices or seeds are listed below.
Whole dried chili peppers
Well, extracts do not always have to be sweet like the kinds of vanilla; at times, they are just herbs and spices. These are commonly used for baking and last for about two to three years. Some of its examples include lemon, almond, maple, mint, gingers, and so on.
How To Tell If Your Spices Has Gone Bad?
Apparently, when we say the spices have gone bad, it simply means that they have lost most of their flavor, potency, and color. When it comes to dried herbs, they are fine to consume even after their expiration dates, but they would not give you a similar and strong flavor as they should.
Indeed, consuming a spice that has gone bad is unlikely to make you sick, but they are nowhere near their fresh counterparts. Right now, if you cannot tell if you should toss your spices or keep them, make sure to check them correctly.
For that, crush a small amount of spice on your palm and smell them. If its aroma is weak and the flavor is not strong, yes, it is time to replace them now.
How To Maximize Life Of Your Stocked Spices?
Spices, in fact, last way longer if you store them correctly. It only means to keep them in an airtight container away from sunlight, heat, and moisture. Well, you can not store your spices in either very cold or warm places.
For instance, you should avoid keeping them near the stoves. Furthermore, you should also avoid dark areas such as the pantry, drawer, or cupboard. One of the main concerns is the container in itself.
While you store, do not choose a porous container and if you have no idea what kind should work, always go for the glass or ceramic containers as they are the best. Yes, some people do store them in plastic containers as well, but they do not prove to be as good as the glass ones.
Moving on, if you are looking forward to storing spices with oil components such as sesame seeds or pigmented spices such as paprika, it is also good to store them inside a refrigerator. Likewise, if your spices are met with moisture, over time, they will result in mold, and as soon as you see them molding, without a doubt, it is time to toss them away.