How to Store Spices and When to Replace

Geo Beats

by Geo Beats

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How to Store Spices and When to Replace - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. One of the most frustrating things for any cook is to find out that your spices have no flavor and no smell. When you notice that, and you can do that simply by opening up a jar of spices and smelling, if you smell nothing, time to throw them out, they are no good anymore. It is a shame that you cannot buy spices in smaller amounts, although you can now on the internet in many different sites. But the key thing about spices and how to make them last longer, is by buying them whole. What I mean by that is: this is coriander, these are coriander seed, and it is preferable to buy the whole seed than already ground because they will last longer. The most ideal way to store a spice is in your freezer. Unfortunately, we do not all have room in our freezer for the spices that we carry. So the second best thing is buying spices whole, in small amounts, and keeping them in a dark, cool cabinet. Preferably one that is not directly over your stove. You want to keep the spices away from heat. Then, as you use spices you will smell them. If there is no smell, they probably need to be thrown out. Spices such as oregano, although it is an herb it is used as a spice, is often already ground. Oregano and some other spices hold up pretty well, but they too can become stale after a period time. Spices like cardamom, it is best to buy them in the pod, because they stay really fresh for a long time, as opposed to buying ground cardamom. But remember too that there are some spices you do not use very often. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about that. If you are using a spice for a special Indian recipe that you got from a magazine once, and then you find that you are not going to use it for another two years, you are kind of out of luck. That is why you want to buy spices that are rare in small amounts. If you are buying your spices in a specialty spice store, a method I prefer, it is best to transfer your spices to a small jar, preferably not a clear one, a dark one where light cannot hit the spice, rather than keeping it in the plastic bag they sell it in. First of all, there is a matter of convenience in terms of use and storage. But more importantly, it will keep the spices fresher for longer.