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Dump the old spices and start fresh

Replenish your spices and seasonings

Cocoa for baking had expired four years ago. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Cocoa for baking had expired four years ago. Photo by Christine Willmsen

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

I threw all of these spices away because they had expired years ago. Buy smaller amounts in the bulk section. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I threw all of these spices away because they had expired years ago. Buy smaller amounts in the bulk section. Photo by Christine Willmsen

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.

Cheers

Christine

About The Solo Cook

An award-winning journalist with a passion for food. A writer and speaker who hopes to inspire everyone to take adventures with food. If I'm not cooking, I'm not happy. I started this blog to inspire single people out there to cook and experience food.

2 responses »

  1. Nice to hear from you again. It’s been a long time.

    I always buy my spices in the bulk section, but have never looked at the store’s expiration date. Will do so from now on.

    Thanks, Maria

    Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 01:55:23 +0000 To: mariacooks@hotmail.com

    Reply
  2. You must have been snooping in my spice closet, my dear niece! I have bought bulk and some stores even sell containers for the spices.

    Reply

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