While thinking about the topic of spice storage it seemed a fine time to discuss how long to keep those little jars in your cupboards!
I don’t post much about cooking here on the blog but I do quite a lot of it. We are a family that eats together at home each night and that means a meal to please a family. And while Mr. Brown is actually quite a good cook, the kitchen is most often my domain. For me, it’s important to have a variety of herbs and spices available. Many times I use a recipe but often I wing it. Just as important, is having spices that taste good! I’ve never had a spice go “bad” on me, but I have kept some well-past when they actually added any flavor to the food.
The key when checking your spices for quality is to actually LOOK at them and TASTE them. I have been known to sprinkle a bit of something on a spoon and taste it directly.
McCormick has a simple chart that breaks it down. In addition to giving the basic breakdown on how long spices will last they also provide tips on checking color and aroma and how best to store and handle them to retain their freshness.
Finally, I know you just read this and you’re thinking “Hmmm…. just how old IS that jar of oregano in my pantry?” I can’t answer that. But I can tell you that when you buy a NEW jar put the date on the bottom with a permanent marker (or a little sticky label if you have reusable glass jars). Then when you check your cabinets the next time you’ll know if that jar is 6 months or 6 years old.