How to Keep Your Spices Fresh for Longer

Herbs, spices and other seasonings are imperative for almost all dishes. They bring flavour, fragrance and colour to a recipe, making it all the more delicious and exciting. But spices don’t last forever, so we’ve got a few suggestions on how to buy and store them, as well as a tip on reviving them if they’ve gone past their shelf life.

1. Store them in a cool, dry place

Temperature is key. Store your spices and dried herbs in the dark, such as in a drawer, cabinet or pantry, ideally at approximately 70°F (21°C). Direct sunlight accelerates their loss of flavour, as do sources of heat, so keep them far away from your stovetop as well.

Did you know?

Red spices like cayenne, paprika and chili powder can actually be kept in the refrigerator. This helps to maintain both their flavour and their gorgeous red colour.

2. Opt for airtight containers

Exposure to air also plays a big role when it comes to loss of flavour, which is why it is important to store your spices and dried herbs in glass jars with tightly sealed lids, or even in metal tins which can also block out sunlight.

3. Buy them whole

Whole spices stay fresh for longer compared to their ground counterparts, because the latter have already been exposed to air during the grinding process. So, whenever possible, opt for whole nutmeg that you can grate as needed, or whole peppercorns to keep in your pepper grinder (versus a bag of the ground stuff).

4. Keep track of dates

We recommend labelling your spices with the purchase date, which will give you a better idea of how long a certain spice has been sitting in your pantry.

Use your senses

Spices and dried herbs tend to lose their strength over time. Different ones last for different lengths of time, so it is important to occasionally sniff them to ensure their strength and aroma are still there, or even to see if their colour has dulled.

5. Bring them back to life

If, for example, your oregano has lost its strength but you really need it for your pasta sauce recipe tonight, you can easily bring it back to life if running to the grocery store isn’t an option. Simply warm it in a skillet over low heat without using any oils or fats, until its aroma begins to waft in the air. This works for both whole and ground spices.