Spices don’t last forever. Spices go bad overtime and as much as you try, there’s no way to make them stay fresh forever. That doesn’t mean that you can't make them last longer though! As such an important aspect of cooking (plus the fact that you are only supposed to use a little each time), it’s important to keep your spices tasting and smelling as they should as time goes on.
Proper storage of spices is something that not everyone practices. With a few simple changes and a few simple tips, you can extend the life-span of your spices significantly. Let’s find out how to keep those fresh spices fresh as we look at how to store spices properly!
While spices can’t go bad in the typical sense of being inedible, they do lose flavour, potency, aroma, and medicinal benefit as time goes on. A few factors that affect spices include:
Oxygen: With cooking ingredients, whether it be steak, bread, or vegetables, oxygen is the enemy of freshness. Even if kept in the fridge, exposure to the air results in steak drying out, bread going stale, and vegetables going soggy or wilting, significantly faster than sealed in some sort of container. The same can be said for spices. Spices will lose freshness and flavour when there is more exposure to oxygen, which is why spices must be kept in airtight containers.
Whole vs. Ground: Another factor in the time that spices lose their flavour is whether they are stored whole or ground. Like how an apple stays fresh longer when left whole versus when cut up, spices are the same. Ground spices go bad quicker because they are exposed to more air, light, and heat overall compared to whole spices, protected with their dried exterior.
Heat and Light: Heat and light are again big factors when it comes to shelf life. Heat, whether it be from the sun or from the nearby stove will affect the quality of the spices significantly. The same goes for light, as being exposed for long periods of time in the light can dull the colour and aroma.
Humidity: Humidity, like with oxygen, is a killer when it comes to freshness for spices. The secret to the longevity of stored spices lies in keeping the contents dry and cool. When moisture is added, this can create all kinds of issues, from clumping to mould forming. When adding spiced from jars or containers, make sure not to hold the container over the steam of the dish to keep your spices dry.
When considering all these factors, it really slims down the possible places to store your spices. However, as spice merchants, we do have a few recommendations when it comes to storage options.
Lastly, the better quality the spices, the longer their flavour will last and the more impact they will have. Don’t forget to visit our store to check out the highest-quality and freshest spices available, shipped right to you!