How Long to Keep Spices and Herbs?


Here are some guidelines to help you determine when it’s time to toss your spices and herbs.

As general rule, keep:

  • 1 year for herbs or ground spices.

  • 2 years for whole spices.

Buy a smaller container until you determine how fast you’ll use a specific spice or herb.

If a spice or herb smells strong and flavorful, it’s probably still potent.

Check an herb or a ground spice by rubbing a small amount in your hand. If the aroma is fresh, rich and immediate, it can still flavor foods.

Check a whole spice. such as a clove or cinnamon stick. by breaking, crushing or scraping it before smelling it.

Avoid smelling pepper or chili powder as they can irritate your nose.

The quality of the herb or spice will influence shelf life.

Label date of purchase on container with a permanent marking pen.

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