Spices: How Long do They Last? By Debra Heimann

02 Jun 2013 3:57 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

Do your favorite dishes seem to lack their original pizazz? Are you missing those compliments you’re accustomed to getting? It could be your spices and herbs. All too often we neglect these important ingredients in our kitchen and treat them badly. If you want your cooking to have its old zip, take a look behind your cupboard door.

Spices and herbs have a shelf life of 2 to 5 years depending on its form. Whole spices last the longest (peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg). Ground spices have the shortest. Spices that are still potent should have their original color with a vibrant smell and fresh taste. So get into the habit: look, sniff, taste before adding to your dish.  If your spices are fairly new they will have a “best if used by date” ;separate these from the spices that don’t. Next see if they pass the look, sniff, taste test. If your still in doubt consult the manufacturer’s website to decipher the printed code on the bottle. This information is usually found under the FAQ section.

Store your spices away from heat and light which can reduce their shelf life dramatically. Buy in a quantity appropriate to its use. Date the bottle after purchase with a marker and you will alway’s know how old it is.

Happy Cooking