How to Store Spices Long Term

How to Store Spices Long Term
Spread the love

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.

Factors Which Degrade Spices

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.

Factors Which Degrade Spices

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:

  • Ground Ginger – 3 to 4 years
  • Ground Cinnamon – 3 to 4 years
  • Ground Coriander n 3 to 4 years
  • Dried Thyme – 1 to 3 Years
  • Dried Savory – 1 to 3 Years
  • Dried Parsley – 1 to 3 Years
  • Dried Chives – 1 to 2 Years
  • Dried Bay Leaves – 1 to 2 Years
  • Dried Oregano – 1 to 3 Years
  • Chili Powder – 3 to 4 Years
  • Whole Nutmeg – 2 to 3 Years
  • Turmeric – 3 to 4 Years
  • Crushed Red Pepper – 1 to 2 Years
  • Peri Peri Spice – 1 to 2 Years
  • Salt – Indefinite Duration
  • Black Peppercorns – 4 to 5 Years
  • Cumin – 1 to 3 Years

The Best Container: Plastic or Glass?

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 Spice Storage Rules

Red Spice Storage Rules

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.

Tips to Help Spices Stay Fresh

  • Avoid freezing – The temperature fluctuation degrades the quality rapidly as they defrost
  • Don’t sprinkle from container to pan – The steam rising from your pot or pan will taint your spices and heighten the risk of mold forming
  • An airtight seal is a must – Always make sure that your jar or container has an airtight seal
  • Never cross-contaminate – Store your spices separate of each other, never allowing the aromas to mix as this taints the taste
  • Always use clean dry utensils – Always scoop out your spices with utensils which are completely clean and dry, never dipping from one spice to another
  • Whole spices retain freshness – Whole spices such as nutmeg and coriander seed retain their flavor and overall freshness for far longer than their ground varieties
  • Salt prolongs shelf life – For those who like spiced salts, be sure to make a mix of your favorite dried and crushed ingredients and an equal quantity of salt. The natural oils and flavors will gradually seep into the salt, taking far longer to degrade, albeit with a salty taste
  • Spices expire – When spices have lost their aroma and flavor it is time to throw them away, there is no point in hoarding pointless, tasteless ingredients

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: