Storing Spices I Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes
Finding the ideal way to store spices can be tricky, depending on your kitchen setup. There are numerous ways out there on how to store spices to make the most out of your kitchen space. Ultimately, not every storage hack keeps in mind the longevity of the seasonings.
Like every other food, spices can go bad too, depending on their shelf life. But here’s the good news: The more carefully stored, the longer they can be used. Yay!
Storage Life | All the facts
Here is a rule of thumb for storage life according to spice type
|Pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks||Up to 5 years|
|Aroma salts* (e.g. rosemary, thyme)||3 years|
|Whole spices||3 years|
|Ground spices||1 year|
|Dried herbs||1 year|
*Some flavors might lose their taste earlier. However, the salt itself can still be used.
Now completely different rules will apply to seeds, nuts and any form of truffles. These can often be used for a few months only and are advised to be stored in the fridge. A tip from my personal experience: Make make sure they are not close to high-smelling foods like onions or cheese, as they will easily adopt the smell. And you definitely do not want that ;-)
The Do’s and Dont’s of Storing Spices
Ready for the good stuff? To make the most out of your amazing spices and dishes, follow these tips.
1. Heat and light can strongly impact longevity
Take a second to think about where heat summons within your kitchen. Hint: any space near the stove, including wall cupboards close-by are a definite No-No. Also, hanging or placing them outside on kitchen walls may look nice, but exposes the spices to strong light which in turn causes some components to break down and make them go bad quicker. The perfect place will be mildly cool, dark and dry with stable temperatures all along. But what about the fridge?
2. The fridge could be a safe space, potentially
If the dried spices are vacuum sealed, this could be an option. However, talking regular usage, storing in the fridge is not the place of choice. Otherwise, when opening them up frequently, moisture will be trapped inside the container. This can cause bacteria or mold growth. Pretty the same goes for the refrigerator, as the humid clumps from defrosting can make your spices unusable What a pity! A side note: Fresh herbs can do quite well in the fridge or freezer.
3. Picking the right type of container – watch out for this
One of the main questions when organizing your spices will be, which container to use. The layout of your kitchen and personal preferences will mainly dictate your options. After all, using airtight containers is key. Air clearly has detrimental effects on spices. Therefore, tight fitting lids are the best way to go on any type of container. The rest is up to you.
4. Away with the clutter
Wherever your spices may eventually end up, make sure to check regularly. Organizing your spice storage, similar to decluttering other areas of your life, can truly come with a level of excitement and liberation. Label and sort them out regularly. It will make you want to use them more often, and that’s the point – right? Just starting out on your Minimalism Journey? Check out our blog for valuable tips.
5. It’s about the right tools – and 2 extra seconds
This really does matter. Really. We all have experienced it. That one time, while in a a rush, we reach out for the first tool at hand. We dip it right into the spice container. Again, we do not want humid clumps inside as the result of wet cutlery. Ideally you pick spice containers with perforated closing lids so no extra tools are needed for seasoning.
6. Let’s talk real-life cooking
It might be tempting to rush over and empty that spice jar right into a steaming pot or pan. But it’s not the best thing you can do. That foggy spice container will tell you there’s humidity trapped inside, which will potentially make it go bad much quicker. So before placing the spice right back in its storage, make sure the fog has disappeared completely and there are no signs of water in it. The same goes for any type of spice grinders.
7. Organization is not a one-size-fits-all
Find which concept works best for you. That might mean placing the cinnamon and turmeric right next to your porridge and nuts, so you have it all handy in one place. Also consider which spices you use most often. If you love cooking Indian or Thai food like I do, storing by cuisine could be your way to go. While labels are great, sorting them alphabetically will not work for every cook. Instead, your breadbox could serve as a great place for some of your often used spices as well!
Ready to re-organize your spice storage in 3, 2, 1.. Have Fun!