Spices and herbs contain aromatic substances called “essential oils”, which are responsible for the aroma and much of the flavor. Most spices and herbs are available in ground and whole form.
Whole herbs and spices last much longer than crushed or ground. Many people prefer to buy the whole form and crush or grind as needed. Herbs and spices can be crushed with a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder. Check ground spices for freshness at least once a year. If no aroma is detected, the seasoning needs to be replaced.
Spices and herbs lasts longer and retains the quality if kept in tightly closed containers in a cool, dry, dark place. A screw-cap container is better than a flip-top container because it can be tightly resealed.
1. Keep the spices away from heat. Do not store near dishwasher or refrigerator, and they should never be stored near the range, even though it may seem more convenient. Heat, air, and light cause aromatic oils to evaporate, which causes spices and herbs to lose their flavor.
2. Store away from moisture as dampness will cause caking and loss of quality. Store in tightly covered jars and use clean, dry spoons for measuring. If you live in a high humidity area you may experience difficulty with caking.
3. Store in cool place away from light. Do not store in a window or in sunlight.
4. It is good to refrigerate cayenne pepper, chili powder, and paprika to retain color longer.
Shelf Life: Whole spices—-2 to 5 years
Ground spices—6 months to 2 years
Leafy herbs——-3 months to 2 years
Dehydrated vegetables—6 months
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