Extracted from the pages of One Planet


Where should I store herbs and spices?

Herbs and spices should be stored in airtight containers away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These elements hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Avoid storing your herbs and spices over the stove, dishwasher, sink, or near a window.

Do herbs and spices spoil?

Herbs and spices do not spoil, but they do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste they should. Here are some handling tips which will help preserve their flavors longer. Replace the lid on bottles right after use. Do not sprinkle directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Measure seasonings in a bowl, then add to pot. Steam introduced into a bottle will hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Steam will also result in caking. Make sure your measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the bottle.

What is their shelf life?

For optimum flavor, it is recommended that properly stored whole spices be used within four years and ground spices within three years. The leafy herbs will last from one to three years, depending on the herb. The red pepper family (paprika and chili powder), should be refrigerated to help retain color and guard against infestation. This is especially important during the summer months and in particularly hot climates.

Spices Ground 1-3 years, Whole 4 years

Green Leafy Herbs 1-3 years

Seeds 3-4 years

Extracts 4 years

Seasoning Blends 1-2 years

How to determine freshness?

1. Sight - check herbs and spices to make sure the color has not faded. If color is faded, this is an indication of flavor loss.

2. Smell - fresh herbs and spices should have a fragrant and intense aroma. Crush them in your hand to release aroma.

3. Taste - Taste them. If the flavor is not apparent, it's time to replace them.

Source: McCormick Spice www.schwartz.co.uk

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