Spices 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.
Spices are an essential part of Indian cuisine. We use different kinds of whole and ground spices such as turmeric, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, and many more to make our food more delicious and flavorful. You can enhance any sweet or savory dish by adding a pinch or a few teaspoons of your favorite spices.
Some Useful Tips to Keep Your Spices Fresh Longer
1. Store them in a dark place and away from heat
Direct heat, sunlight, and humidity can affect the shelf life of spices. So, they should be stored in the kitchen cabinet or pantry or any handy spot that is away from heat.
2. Keep them in airtight containers
Make sure you use airtight jars, bottles, or containers to store the spices as they quickly lose flavor if exposed to air. They don’t actually spoil but lose color, flavor, and aroma over time if not stored properly.
3. Keep them away from moisture
Try not to use the spice jar directly over a steaming pot of curry or water as moisture can ruin the spice in the jar. Also, it’s better to completely dry the measuring spoon before you dip it in the spice jar.
4. 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 store them. These will keep you from buying items that you already have, so you’ll end up wasting fewer unused products.
5. Buy whole spices
Whole spices have more shelf life, for up to 2 years as compared to ground spices that start to lose their flavors 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.
6. 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.