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Herbs and spices add incredible flavor to our favorite dishes, but only when they’re fresh! Follow these guidelines for storing your spices to prolong the freshness of your herbs and spices. And we’ve got great ideas for keeping them organized, which can help save time in the kitchen, too!
Spices and herbs lose potency and flavor over time and are best stored in airtight containers which keep out oxygen and moisture, two things that can quickly steal a spice’s flavor. Whole spices stored in an airtight container remain fresh for about 4 years; ground spices 1-2 years. If possible, buy whole spices and grind them yourself using a coffee grinder (used only for spices!)
Try not to sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle into a steaming pot. The heat and moisture will hasten flavor loss and could result in caking. Instead, measure spices into a cup, measuring spoon or bowl, then add to your recipe. Always use a completely dry measuring spoon and replace bottle lids tightly after use.
Never store spices on a countertop or above a stove. Instead, choose a pantry or upper cabinet away from a stovetop or microwave. A kitchen drawer in a protected area is another option. Paprika and chili powder will retain their color and remain fresher longer when stored in the refrigerator.
Save time in the kitchen! Choose tiered organizers so that all spices labels are easy to read so you can quickly get the spice you need. Pull out all of the spices required for your recipe before you begin to cook to save even more time!
To test the freshness of your spices, look first at the color, then crush a bit of the spice in your hand to check the aroma and flavor. If the color, smell and flavor are weak, it’s time to throw it away.