Do Spices Expire?

Posted by Navita Verma on

How do you tell if spices are bad?

Okay, so it’s not like your Cinnamon just wakes up one day and decides to rob a bank. Spices don’t expire or go bad overnight, but once ground, they do lose their flavour, potency and colour over time, especially when they are exposed to air, moisture and light. That’s why it’s important to properly store your spices.

Can spices past their best by dates make you sick?

While your favourite curry or turmeric inspired dish won’t taste as authentic if you use expired spices to make it, it is unlikely to make you sick. (Unless it has mold). But who wants to go to all that work to create a dish that doesn’t taste amazing? (For a turmeric inspired recipe that does taste amazing check out this easy recipe-Cauliflower Quinoa with Turmeric.)

How to know when to kick your spices to the curb…

Like in any relationship, it’s best to keep things fresh. It’s time to toss spices in the trash and buy new ones when they lose their aroma. This is a sign they are past their prime and will no longer have the same flavour, or health and beauty benefits. The less processed and purer a spice is (like ours), the longer it tends to last. Also, if a spice shows signs of mold then you should definitely throw it out!

How long do spices last?

Typically, dried herbs such as basil and oregano should be kept for a year though they may last longer. Ground or powdered spices such as cinnamon and ginger last longer. With Navita’s small serving sizes and packaging our spices will likely keep their aroma and fresh taste until you are finished using them.

How to keep it Spicy- Expand the Shelf Life of Spices

The best way to keep your spices fresh, and well spicy, include:

  • Proper Storage- Ironically, one of the worst places to keep your spices is directly next to your stove. Store them in an area that minimizes their exposure to air, heat, light, and moisture such as a pantry, drawer or cupboard.
  • Don’t Buy in Bulk- Giant spice containers may seem more economical, but tend to lose their potency before you can finish them. Smaller batches of spices are usually higher quality and more potent to begin with, and won’t be exposed to air as frequently, because they will be consumed faster.
  • Choose Containers Wisely- Keep spices stored in a tightly sealed container. Glass spice containers, are one of the best options. They are easy to clean and keep air and moisture out. The plastic containers the bulk spices come in tend to take on odours of other spices in your cupboard.
  • Use a Spoon- instead of fingers or sprinkling directly from containers over steaming frying pans.

So, when should you throw spices out? It’s time to kick them to the curb when they lose their smell, go moldy or you’ve had them for a long period of time. Of course, by using our subscription service you can tailor the amount you order, so you only get what you need. This way your spices will keep their same fresh taste from the first teaspoon to the last.

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