How to Keep Spices Fresh


Savory Spice Team
Savory Spice Shop


“How do I keep my spices fresh?”spice rack

We hear this question a lot. And it's an important one! While spices don't typically "go bad" like other food products, they get stale and lose their flavor and aroma over time. Spring is the perfect time to sort through your spice collection and freshen up older bottles for the year ahead.

Along with spring cleaning your spice cabinet, we've got 5 pro tips for making sure your spices stay full of flavor for as long as possible:

1. Keep Your Spices Cool

Don't store spices over or near a hot oven! Prolonged exposure to heat will lead spices to lose their flavor and potency.

2. Keep Your Spices In A Dark Place

When herbs or spices are exposed to sunlight or even lights in your kitchen, your seasonings will suffer. Light will cause the color and vibrancy of your spices to fade, turning your spices from vibrant and colorful to tan and dull.

3. Keep Your Spices Sealed

If spices and herbs are exposed to air for long periods of time, especially if the air is moving, their flavor will rapidly disappear. This is due to the essential oils (which give spices their flavor) drying out or dissipating. When it comes to containers, it is best to use a glass jar with a secure lid.

In most cases, keeping your seasonings in a sealed plastic bag works well. However if you notice that your spices are losing their color or if you start to smell them through the bag, it might be time to switch to a jar. If you believe that your spice container might not have been completely sealed and you’re afraid your spice has gone bad, take a smell and taste. Remember: If it doesn’t have a good smell and color, it won’t have a good flavor.

4. Buy Only What You'll Use

When you buy spices in smaller quantities, you can make sure the ingredients you’re using are as fresh as possible. A good practice to get in the habit of is to determine what spices you will use within a few months. As a general rule, ground spices will keep their best flavor profile for about 6-12 months, depending on the spice. Whole spices last roughly twice as long, so use them within 1 to 2 years. There’s nothing worse than purchasing herbs and spices that you think you’ll use, only to let them go unused and turn stale.

5. Use Whole Spices

Grinding your own spices is the key to ensuring the best flavor and to extend the life of your spices. The simplest grinding method is to use a mortar and pestle.

Mortars and pestles have been used since ancient times to pulverize and crush substances into a paste or powder, though it does require some elbow grease. A spice or coffee grinder can make the process eaiser. If you do use a coffee grinder, we advise you to dedicate different grinders to spices and coffee. Between spices, grind a few grains of rice to clean out remaining spice dust and residue.

If grinding your own spices isn’t for you, remember that we grind our spices in small batches weekly to ensure freshness…it’s the next best thing to grinding them yourself!


If you’re trying to use up some of your spices, take a peek our recipes for inspiration!

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