It's time to start thinking of your spices as perishable ingredients because they are. Your spice cabinet's jar of garam masala has been sitting there for ten years. It probably tastes like nothing at all, is clumpy, and is discolored. Furthermore, it cannot be made stronger; you cannot make up for their shortcomings by adding more of them to your curry.
While flavor quality will eventually deteriorate in time, with the right handling and storage tips, you can extend the taste and freshness of your spices.
Here are four suggestions to make sure your spices stay as fresh as possible:
- Use the right containers
On your countertop, a display of gorgeous bottles containing dried herbs and seasonings will appear lovely, but sunshine can deteriorate them, leaving them bland and flavorless. Think about keeping your spices in a cool, dark place – like a pantry. Choosing the appropriate container is also a key part of storing spices.
Spices should always be kept in an airtight container, like a jar with a tight-fitting lid. However, it is advised that you store your dried herbs and spices in a tin or opaque container if you really want to prevent sunlight from deteriorating the spices. Just be sure to identify the container with a sticker so you'll know what's inside and when you originally bought the spices.
- Remove them from humid places
Imagine you're preparing a sizable supper for the family and you need to include ground cumin in the dish. While keeping your spices in a cabinet above the stove may be more practical, you'll need to find a new location for the herbs.
The shelf life of those spices can be shortened by the moisture from steaming pots on the stovetop, which can also raise the humidity in your kitchen. Additionally, inadvertent moisture input could cause your herbs to clump. Also, the seasonings can have mold.
- Only purchase what you need
It may be a wonderful deal to buy a big container of cinnamon, but can you actually utilize it all before it starts to lose flavor?
Despite your hopes of baking multiple banana bread loaves, you might only ever use a teaspoon of cinnamon before the rest of it finally loses flavor. When compared to buying a bigger container of spices that will probably need to be thrown away, buying smaller containers of spices in quantities that you will need could end up being more cost-effective in the long term.
- Check their taste and smell
You don't want to start roasting and then realize that your dried oregano isn't as flavorful as it once was. So, check your ground herbs and spices on a regular basis to avoid that scenario. To see if they still have a strong aroma and flavor, grind a few of them.
In any case, how long can you store spices in your pantry?
While whole spices can be kept for up to five years, ground herbs and spices can be kept for up to three years. Remember that herbs and seasonings could have been on the grocery store shelves for weeks or even months before someone decided to buy them. If in doubt, taste and smell the spices before using them in your dishes.