How To Store Spices And Keep Them Fresh Longer?
Follow these simple tips to keep your dried herbs and spices flavorful and fresh for a long time.
Spices are an essential part of cooking. We use different kinds of whole and ground spices such as turmeric, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, and many more to add flavor, aroma, and color to our dishes, and make our food more enjoyable. But if you don’t store them properly, they can lose their potency and flavor. In this article, we will discuss some effective ways on how to store spices and keep them fresh longer.
You can enhance the flavor of any sweet or savory dish by adding a pinch or a few teaspoons of your favorite spices. They are not only magical ingredients in cooking but provide remarkable health benefits. They have been in use for centuries around the world for culinary and medicinal purposes. They come from the dried parts of plants other than the leaves and flowers as those are considered herbs. These dried parts include roots, bark, seeds, or anything else that isn’t the green leafy part.
Some Useful Tips for How to Store Spices
Whether you are an avid cook or simply enjoy adding a pinch of spice to your meals, these tips will help you ensure that your spices are always fresh and flavorful.
1. Keep them in a dark place and away from heat
Direct heat, sunlight, and humidity can affect the shelf life of spices. They can cause the spices to lose their flavor and aroma quickly. Hence, it is best to store them in a cool and dark place. You can store them in the kitchen cabinet or pantry or any handy spot that is away from heat.
Also, be mindful of not storing the spices in the refrigerator as they can absorb odors and moisture from other foods in the fridge.
2. Keep them in airtight containers
Make sure you use airtight jars, bottles, or any containers with tight-fitting lids to store the spices as they quickly lose flavor, color, and aroma over time when exposed to air. You can even reuse jars from other food items like coffee, pickles, or jams. Hence, storing spices in airtight containers will prevent air from getting in and keep them fresh for a longer period of time. Airtight containers also help to keep away pests, which can spoil the spices.
3. Store them separately
Some strong-smelling spices like cumin, cinnamon, and garlic can affect the other spices’ flavors. Therefore, it is best to store them in separate containers.
4. Keep them away from moisture
Try not to use the spice jars directly over a steaming pot of curry or water, as moisture can cause spices to clump together and spoil them. Also, it’s better to completely dry the measuring spoon before you dip it in the spice jar.
5. Keep them organized
Store your spices in glass or see-through jars and label them for easy use. You can use spice drawers, spice racks, or wall-mounted magnetic containers to easily organize them. These will keep you from buying items that you already have, so you’ll end up wasting fewer unused products.
6. Buy whole spices
Whole spices have more shelf life, of up to 2 years as compared to ground spices which start to lose their flavor in 8-10 months. You can roast the whole spices in a skillet and grind them right before cooking in order to maximize taste and freshness.
7. Date your spices
Whether you buy ground or whole spices or packaging without labels, it’s best to mention the opened-on date on the jars for your reference. This way you will know how long they’ve been on the shelf and discoloration and damp smell will let you know that it’s time to toss them in the bin. You can use a permanent marker or a label maker to label the containers.
With these tips in mind, you can not only enjoy the aroma and flavors of spices in your cooking but can also prevent wastage and save money.