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Old 11-14-2020, 11:23 AM   #1
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How long do spices last

also how to know when the spice is no longer good. By the taste of the spice? I suppose it differs for every spice the shelf life. Spices are tricky to use and know which ones to use.

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Old 11-14-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
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Spice companies tell you spices are good for 6 months. Of course they'd like it if you bought all new spices every six months.

I use spices until they're gone. If they lose some of their strength, add a little more.

I actually have a bottle of whole cloves that are about 25 years old. I never use them so they'll probably outlive me.
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Old 11-14-2020, 11:42 AM   #3
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Jarred spices usually have a "use by" date on them. I can't say I pay much attention to it, but have tossed some that were really old. They more or less just lose their flavor as opposed to going moldy or rancid.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:01 PM   #4
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It does depend on the spice or herb. I have some Spanish smoked paprika that I bought years ago and didn't use much. We have started using it and it still has plenty of paprika and smoke flavours. It has a "best before" date sometime in 2012.

Spices that are not ground last a lot longer than ground spices. Ground fenugreek gets a smell that makes me nauseous, when it gets too old. I only buy it whole now.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:42 PM   #5
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6 Months is probably the general rule of thumb you'll get, but like the others, some spices I use quickly and others I buy in bulk online or at a local Indian market, and they seem too last for years. Its possible they may lose some of their potency, but I taste everything I cook as Im cooking, and Ill adjust accordingly.
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Old 11-14-2020, 03:04 PM   #6
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Ground spices definitely don't last as long as whole, and some ground spices last longer, or so it seems, simply because they are so intense to begin with, such as cinnamon and cloves. Many years ago, when buying these spices from supermarkets in those tin cans, they must have been old when I bought them, and I would increase the amounts in many baked goods. But years later, when I started buying from a spice shop in the Italian market, that had super fresh spices, due to rapid turnover, and the intensity was amazing, compared to what I had used up 'til then. And after that, I didn't have to increase those amounts in recipes! And when I first bought some paprika at the old Paprika Weiss store, on the upper east side of New York, I had never tasted anything like that before - I only knew paprika as something to dust food with, for color! Things like that I keep in the freezer, and just keep a small amount in the spice drawer.

I keep a lot of my spices in Foodsaver bags, and when I need to refill the jars in the spice jars with small amounts, I just snip the corners of the bag, and refill, with the ground or whole spices, then I re-vacuum-seal the bag, and put it away until next time! And some things, such as cumin, coriander, and many dried peppers, I'll grind myself when I need them. Peppers are better to grind outside, in good weather! And of course, black pepper is best freshly ground; I have at least 4 peppermills around the kitchen and dining room, plus one for white and one for Szechwan peppercorns - all best freshly ground.

With most of those masalas I make, for Indian food, I make smaller amounts - like ¼-½ cup - than recipes often make, which is often 1½ cups. This large amount would loose a lot of flavor, unless I was using this every day! The sambar masala I make more of, but I share that with some friends.
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