The idea of spring cleaning is especially relevant to the spice rack. Often, people will keep the same herbs and spices in their cabinet for years, not realizing that the flavor and aroma tend to fade over time. Here are some helpful tips to checking your spices.
Sight– Check to see if the color of your spices and herbs is vibrant. If the color has faded, chances are, so has the flavor.
Smell and Taste– Rub or crush the spice or herbs in your hand, If the aroma is weak and the flavor is not apparent, it’s time to replace it.
Store herbs and spices in a tightly capped container and keep away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. You can keep members of the red pepper family in the refrigerator to keep color and stay fresh.
If you follow these simple storage and usage guidelines, your spices and herbs should retain their freshness for the following time frames:
• Ground Spices–2 to 3 years
• Whole spices–3 to 4 years.
• Seasoning blends– 1 to 2 years.
• Extracts–4 years, except pure vanilla, which will last indefinitely.