Spices don't necessarily become unsafe to eat if they've been on your shelf for a long time, but they do lose their flavor. A spice that has sat around too long won't give your dish the boost it needs and it may make the dish taste off. If you've got spices in your pantry and you can't remember when you bought them, check them to see if they're still good or if you need to buy new ones.
Check the container for a date or a code that might indicate if the spice is past its best. Some commercially produced spices have an expiration date printed on the bottom. If it is past the date on the container, it's best to replace the spice.
Check the spices for changes in appearance. Green herbs that have turned brown have likely lost their flavor. Clumping in powdered spices like paprika and cinnamon is caused by an excess of moisture and is also a sign your spices have gone bad.
Shake the spice container, let it settle, open the top, and take a whiff. If your spices do not smell like they should, it may be time to get rid of them.
Taste the spices. One of the most obvious ways to tell if your spices are expired is to taste them. If it has little flavor or the taste isn't right, replace the spice.
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