As I was packing up my kitchen items to take to my new home, one of the last things I packed was my spice cabinet. It is filled with different kinds of dried herbs and spices. It was the perfect time to go through them and decide what should be kept and what needed to be replaced.
#2: How fresh are your dried herbs and spices?
Imagine food without herbs and spices. Everything would taste rather bland. If some herbs and spices have been in your cabinet for years, they are not going to to enhance that special dish you just cooked. These culinary aids should be checked once a year. If they're old, throw them away.
Ask yourself this: When was the last time you refreshed your spice cabinet? Here are some storage tips to use and follow when checking your spices:
- Store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dark place. The best place is in a cabinet or drawer.
- If storing herbs and spices on a counter top, use tinted jars or tins and keep them away from direct sunlight and extreme heat or cold. These elements speed the deterioration of spices and herbs and lesson their flavor.
- Avoid storing dried herbs and spices in the refrigerator or freezer. Condensation can add moisture, which can encourage mold growth and ruin dried herbs and spices.
- Label and date your herbs and spices to track their freshness. Keep track of when they were purchased or dried.
- Always use a dry measuring spoon to avoid introducing moisture to the dried herbs.
- Try and use whole spices and grind them when needed. Like coffee beans, this approach will keep their flavor the longest.
Similar to your fire alarm batteries, I recommend ensuring your herbs and spices are fully charged once a year, too. If stored properly, dried herbs and ground spices will last for one year. If left whole and unopened, they'll last a bit longer. Ensure your spices have a fresh appearance and pleasant aroma. They do not spoil, but they do lose potency over time.
So next time you are thinking about what herbs and spices to use in your cooking, why not take a few minutes and check their freshness. Happy eating!