Do spices spoil? Here’s how long the latest expiration lasts

Do spices spoil?  Here’s how long the latest expiration lasts

Here at The Pioneer Woman, we don’t shy away from cooking with spice. In fact, Ree Drummond’s pantry is filled with all kinds of spice jars for her best recipes. But imagine choosing that perfect recipe for your family dinner only to realize that it calls for a handful of spices that you haven’t used in years. This raises the question: Are spices… In reality mess? If so, how long do the spices last? The answer is not cut and dry.

It may come as a surprise, but spices can lose their freshness over time, which means they lose their flavor as well. It won’t spoil in the same way that cheese does, so how can you tell if your spices have gone bad? The best test you can do is to open the jar and take a good whiff. Do they smell fragrant and similar to the spices they are supposed to smell like? If they smell like nothing, or smell very weak, it’s probably time to toss them.

And before you organize your pantry, consider these additional tips for updating your spice drawer. Then try making some of Rey’s best recipes with them! Use ground cumin and paprika in Slow Cooker Spicy White Chicken, chili powder in Butternut Squash and Black Beans, warm cinnamon in Cinnamon French Toast, or dried dill and chives in Garlic Ranch Party Mix. You can even make your own pumpkin pie spice!

Do spices spoil?

Kevin J. Miyazaki

How long do spices last?

Shelf life depends on the type of spice. Ground spices (like chili powder and paprika) usually last anywhere from six months to two years, while whole herb leaves (like parsley, oregano, and dill) last one to three years. If you have whole spice packets (such as allspice or pepper), their shelf life will be a little longer. Because they’re not ground, their essential oils will remain intact longer, so you can count on these to last for up to three or four years.

If all else fails, follow the expiration date listed on the jar! While the spices can still be good after that day, it’s still a good guideline because you probably don’t know how old they were when you bought them or when you bought them in the first place. Do you put your spices in new jars when you get home? No problem! Use the label maker to mark the expiration date at the bottom, so you always have it close at hand.

Pioneer Woman Sweet Rose Acacia Wooden Spice Rack

Pioneer Woman Sweet Rose Acacia Wooden Spice Rack

Pioneer Woman Sweet Rose Acacia Wooden Spice Rack

When should I throw away my spices?

As mentioned before, do a smell test and check expiration dates first to determine if you need a new batch of spices. If you know you’ve been eating spices for five or more years, you should definitely toss them and treat your pantry with some fresh spices. To make it more budget-friendly, swap it out when preparing new meals. Double-check your pantry while writing your grocery list, so it’s more economical and nothing goes to waste. Spices can get expensive!

How do I organize my spices?

The rule of thumb for organizing spices is to make them as visible and accessible as possible, given the space available in your home. If you have a drawer, you can place the label face up on it, so you can read it and pick it up easily. You can also claim some wall space and hang an easel or designate a shelf for your use. If you choose the latter, we suggest short stacked shelving units to maximize space and keep all labels visible. Finally, if you have counter space, a lazy Susan or standing spice rack is perfect for everyday jars like salt and pepper.

As for which spices should go where, there are a few schools of thought. You can arrange them alphabetically so you can look forward for basil and backward for thyme. Otherwise, you can put your favorites up front and leave the occasional condiment for the back row. You can also separate sweet and salty spices by placing common cooking spices on one rack and common baking spices on another rack. The choice is yours based on how you cook in the kitchen!

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