Tip of the Week: How to Store Your Spices Properly

Give your spices and herbs a longer shelf life.


Proper storage makes a huge difference in giving your spices longer shelf life. Here are some things to remember:

Direct sunlight and heat can cause spices to lose flavor and aroma. So keep your spice containers away from the stove or the kitchen window.

When adding spices to your cooking, sprinkle a little in your hand or on the cooking spoon before putting it in the pot or pan. The steam from the pan may cause the spices to get moisture.


If you shop at wholesale grocery stores and buy spices in bulk containers, transfer a small amount in smaller containers for everyday use. This way, you won’t have to open the big container often and let the good aroma out.

The color and smell of spices are good indicators of its quality. Weak scent and discoloration are sure signs the spice is no longer fresh.

While spices generally last a long time, it shouldn’t sit in your cupboard or pantry forever. Check and keep track of the expiration date:take a permanent marker and write the purchase date on the bottom of the container. Some spices, like cloves and whole black peppercorns, have a shelf life of two to three years!

Text appeared in the January-February 2008 issue of Yummy magazine; image from Pixabay

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