No matter how seasoned you are with your cooking, you know that the right herbs and spices will enhance the flavor.
But have you checked the expiration dates on your spice jars recently? The spice may seem like it will last forever, but does the spice spoil?
Do herbs and spices really expire or spoil?
Not right. according to United States Department of AgricultureMost of the pantry items can last for years, if not indefinitely, including dried herbs and spices.
However, herbs and spices have a long shelf life, even if they do not appear rotten.
Air, heat, and bright light It can cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor over time, and if that happens, they simply won’t work.
Can spices spoil and make you sick?
According to Brittany Crump, MPH, RDN at Savor the nutrition, “Over time, the herbs and spices will lose their flavor, but there is very little risk of you getting sick.”
Herbs and spices do not spoil like yogurt or yogurt.
Eating 25-year-old curry powder won’t kill you, but this spiced chicken won’t taste or look good.
It’s hard to tell how long a spice is good after the expiration date. But the longer you wait, the more flavor you lose.
The shelf life of common herbs and spices
When should old spices be discarded? To get the most flavor from herbs and spices, use them before the “best by” date (if one is listed).
The type of spice – fresh, ground, or whole – affects how long they last.
Below is a chart of the average life span of common herbs and spices Iowa State University:
|Herb or spice||Fresh||Land||all|
|basil||5-7 days||2-3 years||3-4 years|
|Bay leaves||5-7 days||2-3 years||3-4 years|
|black pepper||–||2-3 years||5-6 years|
|cayenne||5-7 days||2-3 years||2-3 years|
|Celery seed||5-7 days||2-3 years||2-3 years|
|chili powder||–||2-3 years||2-3 years|
|Chives||7-10 days||2-3 years||2-3 years|
|coriander||5-7days||2-3 years||4-5 years|
|cinnamon||–||2-3 years||4-5 years|
|pink||5-7 days||2-3 years||4-5 years|
|Coriander||5-7 days||2-3 years||2-3 years|
The whole vs. Ground condiment
- Ground (dried) spices It will last 2-3 years.
- Whole spices It will last 4-5 years.
You can apply this basic rule to:
- Asian Spices (ginger, star anise, lemon, etc.)
- Indian spices (cardamom, garam masala, turmeric, etc.).
- Mexican spices (annatto, chili, oregano, etc.)
- Mediterranean spices (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)
- Moroccan spices (paprika, nutmeg, Ras El Hanout … etc).
- Other spices not mentioned above
While the strategy may work for the regular palate, you may want to keep an eye on stricter “best on time” dates if you have truly discerning tastes.
Some cooks or recipe sites recommend throwing out ground spices after three months and whole spices after 10 months.
Salt is an exception. Table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt – no matter which type you prefer, you can store the salt indefinitely.
Are different brands of spice important?
“The most important factor is the freshness of the spice, not the brand,” says Crump. Most spice companies close their spice jars to lock in freshness.
Look at “best by” dates before purchasing because stale seasoning won’t do your dish justice!
Some manufacturers use anti-caking agents to help maintain the freshness of their products.
Since caking is caused by moisture, these additives absorb or repel the water and oil to prevent spices from clumping together.
Not every spice brand uses anti-caking agents, but many do.
If you really want to avoid these additives, be sure to read the ingredient list on the label.
Tips for enjoying fresh herbs and spices
Now that we have answered the question, “Do the spices spoil?” Let’s take a look at some of the best practices. Herbs and spices can be quite pricey.
Here The most important advice To get the most out of your cooking investment:
- Buy whole spices instead of ground. You will have a longer chance to enjoy it. Invest in a spice grinder or pestle to grind whole spices.
- Do not buy in large quantities. Buy smaller quantities that you can use within a few months to a year.
- Use airtight spice jars. If your herbs and spices don’t come in a jar, use a glass jar or stainless steel bowl to keep the air from escaping out.
- Store in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct sunlight or moisture that can decompose herbs and spices. “Comfort is tempting, but avoid storing spices near your stove or any heat sources that generate moisture, which could result in fresh spices being lost,” Crump adds. “I prefer storing my own in a cool dry closet.”
If you’re looking for tips on how to use spices in cooking, we recommend checking out: