How to Store Spices

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Whether bottled or dried, spices can lose their flavor. There are things to look for when shopping for spices that can increase or decrease the potential for keeping the flavor intact. Storing spices the right way will allow them to retain their flavor for a long time. Fresh herbs should always be purchased in the amounts you need for a recipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Rolling pin
  • Meat mallet
  • Coffee grinder or food processor for grinding herbs and seasonings

Buying Herbs, Spices and Seasonings

  • Whether fresh or dried, look for and purchase spices in cans with tight fitting lids or screw top caps as they can be kept more airtight.

  • If possible buy spices and herbs in small amounts. According to cookbook author, Betty Rhode, spices and herbs usually begin to deteriorate after about three months, especially if not stored properly.

  • To get the best flavor from spices and herbs, purchase whole spices and crush small amounts with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Grind larger amounts in a pepper mill or coffee grinder. According to author Betty Rhodes, you can even use the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

  • Look at the jars and bottles of spices before you purchase them. Spices with a dull or dark color are safe to use but may not have as flavor. Ask your grocer how often they stock the shelves, including the spices and herbs.

Storing Herbs, Spices and Seasonings

  • Store dried spices and herbs in a cool, dark, and dry place. Heat, moisture, and strong light can degrade the flavor and effectiveness of your seasonings.

  • Do not display seasonings on open racks above or near your stove or dishwasher or anywhere in your kitchen they will be exposed to heat.

  • You can safely store your whole dried spices and herbs by putting them in your freezer for up to three years to keep them fresher. However, you can only store ground seasonings in your freezer for no more than six months.

  • Author Betty Rhodes suggests that the date of purchase should be recorded. Write the date you bought the herbs and spices on the containers with a marker. Check for a change in color, a musty odor or no odor. These are indicators that herbs and spices may have degraded and will no longer flavor food the way the should.

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  • Photo Credit Where quoted information came from cookbook author Betty Rhodes, microsoft office clip gallery, and some tips my mother taught me
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