How Old Are Your Spices?
It took me a while, but I finally buckled down and got rid of my old spices.
The tipping point was the other day when we were making pasta sauce. Greg sprinkled some Italian spice blend. I noticed it didn't have an aroma so I tasted it. It tasted woody and stale. When I checked the expiration date, I discovered it was 8 years old! There was no choice but to take a hard look at my inventory.
We had old spices, duplicate spices, and one-time use spices. It was time to break off our relationship.
The hardest ones for me to throw away were the one-time spices that I bought for some special recipe. In the back of my mind, I kept hoping I'd have a reason to use them again. Reality has finally sunk in.
Then there are the spices I only used once a year like allspice and nutmeg. This goes on year after year. I use them for the occasional pumpkin pie and then that's it until next year.
In cases like this I either need to find a really small bottle or switch to an alternative spice that will make do.
At least not all my spices had gone stale. There are a few I buy in the large containers because I use a lot of it. Our most used spices/herbs are garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano, and salt (of course).
The not-so-frequently used spices are nutmeg, allspice, cloves, sage, curry, and ground mustard.
According to most experts, ground spices are only good for 2-3 years. Whole spices are 3-4 years. I am too embarrassed to tell you what the oldest spice in my spice rack was. Suffice it to say, the label on the bottle said 99 cents. When I replaced it the other day, I paid 5.99 for a bottle with slightly less product.
I did save the bottles though. I find them handy for seed storage and other tiny things.
One thing to note is that granulated sugar, salt, and honey have no expiration date. I buy them in quantity and divvy them up into smaller containers.
How about you? Are you good about checking your spices for freshness? What do you use most? What spice do you use least?