How Long Do Spices Last?

How long do spices last?

Most spices can last as long as you want them to because, with the exception of a few, like sesame seed or poppy seed that can go rancid, they don't go bad.

But, let's not go there. Instead, know that when you calculate the cost per pound of your recipe, the spices and herbs usually are the cheapest ingredients. So, throw away your old spices and herbs. Most likely your spices and herbs are older than … two years -- which is about the longest you should keep any ground spices, even the unopened ones. We recommend that you replace most of your spices and herbs once every year. A good way to keep track of the freshness for each spice or herb is to mark purchase dates right on the spice jar labels. Whole spices can be kept longer --- for up to about four years for unopened containers; less for opened ones.

One of the best ways to tell if your spices and herbs are too old is to open the container and smell the contents. Weak or no aroma means tasteless food. Old spices and herbs do not add flavor to your food. No wonder your family wants to always eat out. Restock your spice pantry and get your family back to the dinner table by cooking your favorite recipes using fresher everyday spices and herbs. By cooking with higher quality spices and herbs, you can learn to flavor your foods without excess salt and saturated fats.

So, go ahead and check out your spice rack. Toss out the old stuff and plan now to buy spices for the next year. Always remember that when you calculate the cost per pound of your recipe, the spices and herbs usually are the cheapest ingredients.

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Spice Trivia

Do you know these fun facts about spices and herbs?

Black Pepper is the most popular spice in the world

Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world

By weight, Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Vanilla Bean and Cardamom are expensive spices too. Both are hand-harvested and require much manual labor.

Nutmeg is not a nut. It is the seed/pit of a fruit.

The outer lacy covering (aril) on Nutmeg is called mace blade. When in the ground powder form, it is just called "mace"

Cilantro and Coriander are from the same plant. Cilantro is the leaf, and coriander is the seed.

There are almost one million seeds in one pound of Poppy Seeds.