Memorial Day is near, which means that so is mooving season! As you finalize the packing of your home, one of the rooms often left until the end is the kitchen. If you are really coordinated and ahead of the game (yeah right), you and your family will have been working on consuming all the contents of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. The less you have to move, the better. The distance of your new home will often dictate what foodstuffs you choose to keep or toss. If you are moving down the street or simply a different neighborhood, obviously you will be able to keep the majority of your food items. The length of time you will be without a refrigerator or freezer will also determine whether you keep only dry goods or a few perishables as well. Most items will have expiration dates so you can easily tell, what to toss, what to keep, etc. As you begin to clean out your pantry, you will come across all your spices, a few have dates, but a majority do not. What is the shelf life of a spice? How do you determine which to toss and which to keep? Do spices go bad?
- Spices do not actually go bad or spoil, they just lose potency and quality. Consuming an older spice will not make you sick, but it may have a different flavor than you intended.
- Whole spices will stay freshest the longest for a period of three to four years. If a whole spice no longer has an aroma, then it is time to toss it.
- Ground spices will stay fresh for about two to three years. However, you cannot tell how long a ground spice was kept in a warehouse or store, so the shelf life of your ground spices may be even shorter.
- Dried herbs will last for about one to three years.
- If your spices have been sealed and stored in a cool, dry, dark place (like the pantry) this will help in extending the freshness.
- If you are in doubt it may be easiest to throw out a questionable spice and start fresh in your new home!