Unlike most foods, spices really don't go "bad". They simply
lose their potency slowly over time. In general, whole spices last
for approximately three years. Ground spices will keep their
maximum flavor for two years. Herbs lose their flavor at a slightly
quicker pace than spices. Expect spices to last at peak flavor for
between one and two years. If you follow proper storage techniques
these shelf life targets are more than attainable.
Light, heat and humidity can change the flavor and limit the shelf
life of herbs and spices. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place. A
shelf in your kitchen pantry or cabinet is a good choice. Avoid the
temptation to place them on a ledge directly above your stove.
While this is decorative and would make them easily accessible,
they will lose their potency quicker due to the heat and humidity
given off by your stove.
Keep spices in tightly sealed containers. This eliminates excess
air and will help them stay fresher longer. Your senses of sight,
smell and taste will help you determine if your spices and herbs
will deliver the flavor you need for your recipes. If one of your
spices is pale, tasteless and does not emit any aroma when you rub
a pinch between your fingers, it's time to replace it with a fresh
container. Old spices are not toxic, but they will disappoint in
terms of results.
Another word of caution, avoid shaking your herb or spice canister
directly over hot, steamy pots to season your creations. Doing so
will fill your spice containers with both heat and humidity. For
the same reason, do not to place moist utensils into your spice
As you begin to experiment with more herbs and spices, you'll have
fun cooking and sharing your flavorful creations with family and
friends. Stop by your local Fiesta and explore the hundreds of
herbs and spices we have in stock. In fact, many of Texas' top
chefs come to Fiesta to shop. You'll never know who will be
standing next to you in the spice aisle!
Another way to learn about new ways to cook with herbs and spices
is by signing up for a class at our Culinary School. Here, we bring
in chefs and cooking instructors who will show you the fine art of
cooking with herbs and spices from around the world.