Did you know that spices don’t spoil… ever.  They do lose their flavor over time, but that takes a really long time.  Years.  In fact, 4 years for whole spices, 2 to 3 years for ground spices, and 1 to 3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb.

So buying them in bulk is totally the way to go.  And it makes a huge difference in price.  For example, at My Spicer a 4oz container of basil is $1.35 an oz but a 32 oz container is only $.82 an oz.   Or at Spice Barn a 4 oz container of cinnamon is $1.20 an oz where an 8 oz container is only $.76 an oz.  And if it doesn’t go bad, then why not buy the cheaper version?  You can get bigger than just 8 oz.  But I was trying to be reasonable.  I don’t expect anyone to really buy a 5 pound bag of Oregano.  But hey, maybe you make a lot of spaghetti.

I like to try new recipes and sometimes I find one that calls for a spice I’ve never heard of.  I won’t be buying those in large quantity for two reasons.  One, maybe I hate it and will never use it again. (Caraway seeds anyone?)  Two, even if I do like it I probably won’t use it much.  After all, I have gone my entire life thus far and haven’t used it.  But I do plan to buy the common spices in bulk.  Cinnamon, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Garlic Powder… you know, the ones that always seem to make their way to the front of the cabinet.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your spices:

  • Store them in an airtight container.
  • Store them in a cool, dry, dark place.  Like, say, the cabinet.
  • Don’t sprinkle the spice directly into a steaming pan.  The steam will get into the container and age the spices quicker.  This is a new one to me.  I do that all the time!  I should say, I used to do that.
  • If the spice has smell then it’s good to go.  If you crush it in your hand and it has no smell, then toss it.  The flavor is about as potent as the smell.

I mentioned two spice sites, I have no idea if either of those places are good places to shop.  They just came up first in a Google search.  So if anyone knows of a good place to buy spices please let everyone in on your secret.

pic by: Frenkieb

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