Replenish your spices and seasonings
I have something embarrassing to admit. Although I think I’m not alone in this cooking faux pas, I must confess I have old spices in my cupboards. Now you might think they are a couple of months expired, but I’m ashamed to admit some of them are several years old. My baking cocoa was four years old – yikes. I found another half dozen items that had to go. Some dried and whole spices have a short shelf life while others can last up to three years. Although you won’t get ill by eating expired spices and herbs, they will lose their flavor profile, aroma and intensity. Now it’s time to for us all to purge those expired spices and replenish our seasonings and spices.
Check out the bulk section, there’s a pay off
As a single person, I often don’t finish spices in large containers before their expiration dates. I’m sold on the bulk section of grocery stores to buy smaller and fresher quantities. For spices you rarely use or need for a specific recipe, turn to the bulk section. You will save money when you buy two or three tablespoons of a spice like caraway seed, cardamom and turmeric in the bulk section, compared to a large container of it.
But be careful, when I was at my local QFC store, I found almost all of the bulk spices had already expired in their large tubs. That means that they’ve been sitting on the shelf for a long time.
Write the purchase date on your bags and jars of spices. This will help you track how old they are. Store spices in a cool, dark area of your kitchen. Rub a spice between your fingers and taste it. Time to toss it in the compost not the saucepan, if it lacks an intense flavor kick.