When stored correctly, dried spices can retain their flavor, aroma and texture for up to three years. There is nothing worse than having an entire array of spices, seeds, roots and herbs lose their taste, color and distinctive aromatic smell.
Your ground herbs and spices won’t go rancid but they certain will lose their potency and pungency if you don’t properly store them.
Here we’ll be showing you exactly what factors need to be kept in check in order to keep a peak level of freshness. We’re showing you how to store spices long term easily, effectively, and affordably.
Ground and dried herbs and spices need to be stored in a cool dark area which is free from humidity. Humidity and moisture, heat, and direct sunlight can all degrade the pungency of your herbs and spices. Always keep your spices in an airtight container which is out of direct sunlight, preferably in a cool dark cupboard.
An airtight seal is essential to keeping your spices fresh, while extremely large quantities can be stored in the freezer if adequately prepared, but more on this later. The temperature of your storage device should be kept stable at below 70° Fahrenheit. Fluctuations will eventually result in condensation which causes mold to form.
Different herbs and spices last for varying durations. While the following information serves as a guide, all lengths stipulated can be prolonged using careful storage methods. The shelf life listed is how long each spice will typically last if left sealed in its original packaging:
The non-porous nature of glass makes glass containers highly preferable to plastic, although either type will work given an airtight seal. Any presence of air at all causes spices lose their flavor because of the way that volatile oils escape through evaporation.
The added moisture in the air also causes your spices to cake over time. Get yourself a selection of glass jars with an airtight seal for long-term spice storage. Mason jars are perfect. Corked tops are another option, as are tin containers, yet neither work as well for long term spice storage as a secure airtight glass jar.
The only precaution which you have to take is to store your spices in a dark place. Glass offers no protection from light unless the outside of the jar is painted. Many opt for chalkboard paint to be rewarded with dual-purpose protection.
Red spices are the only exception to the cornerstone rule of spice storage. Spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and peri peri retain their color and flavor far longer when stored in the fridge. To best protect your spice, place it into a bag or container inside of an airtight container which is then placed in the fridge. These spices typically only last for 6-months to a year but you’ll get the best results cold.