Do Spices Go Bad?

by Escali Scales on July 29, 2013

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It’s not an uncommon occurrence to buy spices in bulk when out at the grocery stores in high hopes of cooking a multitude of new recipes. However most often than not, all those spices just end up sitting around for years, never to be touched or opened until years later when they’re accidentally rediscovered. How sad! When one finds those long forgotten spices, they question usually on your mind is, did these go bad or expire? The answer is, yes and no.

Dried herbs and spices rarely go “bad” or get to the point where they would make you sick. They do however, lose flavoring over time. After a year of so, if ground spices don’t emit an aroma when you open it up, the flavoring will be lackluster at best. According to Cooking Light, it’s best to buy spices from a place that sells a lot of them. If you don’t, one could be buying spices that have already lived a while on the shelf. Buy spices in a small amount if you won’t be using them immediately in a recipe.

Storing prices properly are also very important for getting the most out of them as possible. Keep spices in cool, dark places (such as a cabinet) rather than a decorative rack on your wall. Racks on the wall are more susceptible to heat and sunlight that reach the spices and don’t allow them to last as long. As well as storing them in a dark, dry, cool place, it’s best to keep spices in airtight plastic containers. The least amount of air and moisture that reach the spice, the better.

Ideally, one should purchase spices whole and grind them. You don’t know how long ground spices have been already stored in warehouses and stores so by grinding them yourself, you can be sure of how long they have been grinded and stored. When spice is grounded, it releases oils responsible for its flavor and aroma. As the oils dissipate, the spice becomes less pungent. If the color smell and flavor of a spice are weak, it’s time to toss it out.

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