How to Store Spices: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Spices Fresh
Find out how to keep your favorite dried spices and more for long-lasting flavor.
Have you ever reached for a jar of seasoning or herbs, only to discover that the herbs are tasteless and smell dusty? While it is disappointing to realize you have stale spices on your hands, you can do a few things to prevent it from happening again. Whether you purchase your spices and herbs from your favorite grocery store or dry your own herbs, knowing how to store spices properly can go a long way to ensure your seasonings retain full flavor.
In this guide on How to Store Spices: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Spices Fresh, you’ll discover quick and easy ways to store your spices. Your favorite rubs and seasonings will be full of flavor and ready to use in your favorite recipes for dinner when you keep these tips in mind!
Use the Right Containers for Herbs and Seasonings
Although a display of pretty containers filled with dried herbs and seasonings will look attractive on your countertop, sunlight can break down a spice, leaving it dull and flavorless. Consider storing your spices in a dark, cool area, such as a pantry. Selecting the right container is a crucial step in spice storage, too. You can’t go wrong with storing your spices in an airtight container, such as a jar with a fitted lid. However, if you truly want to block sunlight from breaking down the spices, it is recommended that you store your dried herbs and spices in a tin or opaque container. Just remember to use a sticker to label the container so that you know what is inside, as well as the date when you first purchased the spices!
Are you ready to branch out and try an assortment of herbs and spices? Then you will want to check out 12 Rare Spices and How to Cook with Them
Humidity is Not Your Friend
Picture this scenario: You’re cooking a big dinner for the family, and you need to add ground cumin to the meal. While it may be more convenient to place your spices in a cupboard above the stove, you’ll need to find a new spot to store the herbs. The moisture from steaming pots on the stovetop can lead to increased humidity in your kitchen while decreasing the shelf life of those spices. In addition, the unintentional addition of moisture could lead to clumping in your herbs. The seasonings could also be susceptible to mold.
Purchase What You Will Realistically Use
A warehouse-sized container of cinnamon may be a great deal, but will you really use all of that seasoning before it starts to lose its flavor? While you might have dreams of making countless loaves of banana bread, the reality is you may only use a teaspoon of cinnamon occasionally before the rest of the cinnamon eventually loses its flavor. It may actually be more economical in the long run to purchase smaller containers of spices in quantities that you will use than to purchase a larger container that will likely need to be discarded.
Check Your Spices for Taste and Smell
You don’t want to be in the middle of cooking a roast only to discover that your dried oregano no longer has that full flavor. To prevent that scenario from happening, the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture & Natural Resources advises checking your ground herbs and spices several times per year. To test, grind some of the spices, then assess if they still have a strong smell and taste.
How Long Do Spices Last, Anyway?
How long can you keep spices in your pantry, anyway? According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, ground spices and herbs can be stored for up to three years, while whole spices can be stored for up to five years. Keep in mind that herbs and seasonings may have been sitting on the grocery store’s shelves for weeks, if not months, before they were purchased. When in doubt, test the spices for taste and smell before using in your recipes.
Roll up your sleeves and use your favorite spices and seasonings to make these 30+ Weeknight Dinners: Dinner Ideas for Any Night
Herb and Seasoning Recipes
It's one thing to stock your pantry with premade seasonings, but have you ever thought to make your own? It's a lot easier than you might think! Making your own seasonings and rubs is a great way to customize a recipe to achieve just the flavor you're craving. Whether you're cooking a beloved Southern dish or a classic Italian favorite, your next meal will have more pronounced flavor when you include these recipes for herbs and seasonings.
Creole Seafood Seasoning (pictured below): Add some pizzazz to your next seafood dish when you include this authentic recipe for seafood seasoning. This nine-ingredient recipe won't take you long to blend.
Neely's Barbecue Seasoning: Don't fire up that grill until you check out these seasoning! This quick and easy recipe is one that everyone who is serious about barbecue will want to use.
Two Herb Blends: Do you want to make an Italian pasta dish, or do you want to add a bit of French cooking to your meal? Regardless of which you prefer, you'll want this quick and easy herb blend to be at your fingertips.
Garam Masala: This full-flavored recipe for garam masala recipe is so easy to make. You'll enjoy incorporating it in your favorite curry recipe!
Adobo Seasoning: Make your marinades sing when you add this recipe for adobo seasoning to the mix. This recipe uses only a handful of ingredients, and you likely already have them on hand.
What is your favorite tip for storing spices?