Using fresh spices can make all the difference when making even the simplest
recipes. Less is better, that is my motto. Simple, fresh flavors that compliment and enhance. But how do you know if your spices are still fresh and potent enough
to accomplish the desired flavor?
Spices that are past their prime do not make you sick, they just won’t have the
desired potency. Ideally it is best to buy spices whole because once the spice is
ground, it releases the oils that provide the flavor and aroma. As the oils
dissipate, the spice starts to lose their potency.
If their color is faded, chances are they are losing their potency. It is best to
keep spices away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. Avoid storing your spices over a stove, near a dishwasher or sink, or near a window. Generally,
dried herbs last one to two years, ground spices for two, maybe three
years. While whole spices last for four years.
It may take a bit of effort, but I like to write the purchase date on each spice
before I put them away in my spice rack, making it simple to keep it fresh…always!