Do Spices Go Bad?

Each now and then, you may choose to clean your kitchen and get rid of all the various food items, such as spices, condiments, and spices past the expiration date. But, once you get to the part in your kitchen where you keep all the spices, you could start to think about whether they are expired. Many people may not believe that herbs do pass and that they’re like honey. Unfortunately, spices do expire. The period that spices will last is dependent on a variety of variables. In general, fresh herbs will pass faster than extracts, and dried spices are likely to expire more quickly than whole spices. There are plenty of websites that can assist you in determining the time your spices can last beyond the dates printed on them.

Figuring out the length of time your spices last

Although there are no two identical spices, there is a standard guideline on how long your spices are expected to last. Fresh spices are the most likely to expire, followed by dried spices, ground ingredients, fresh spices, and extracts. Most of the time, the fresh spice stays between five to seven days. Some exceptions, like citrus, garlic, lemons, and saffron, that last anywhere from one month to six months.

The second type of spice, ground spices, does not alter much in terms of expiration time. Most ground spices will last for between two and three years beyond the expiration date, except for citrus, mint, saffron, and wasabi. These spices can last up to two to one year rather than two, so you must be careful to utilize them more quickly if you own them.

Then, you’ll have dried spices. Dry spices last longer, and if you’re searching for spices, typically go for dried ones, if possible. This will spare you a lot of hassle of having to replenish your spice cabinet every so often. Most dried spices remain for between 2 and 3 years, but some variations exist. The seeds of celery, mint, wasabi, saffron, and so on are good for between two and one year. This means that you need that you use them all up before. However, rosemary, tarragon, spice turmeric, and thyme last between three and five years.

There are also whole spices. Some spices don’t have this restriction; however, if you can locate the whole spices you frequently use, it is recommended to buy the whole spices. Whole spices can last longer than the various varieties of spices; however that the majority of whole spices last between three to five years. Some spices, like cayenne pepper, cardamom, and chili powder, can last for two or three years. Other spice mixes, such as black pepper, last for five to six years. In simple terms, you can anticipate entire spices to last much longer than other types.

Then, there are extracts. There’s no extract form for all spices; however, in certain instances, extracts will not work for the cooking requirements of your household. However, if you discover they suit the food you love cooking, consider buying extracts. Most often, extracts last an average of four or five years, making them among the longest-lasting types of spices available.

How Do You Know If Spices Are Poor?

Many people remove spices from their original containers, or after 3 years, the dates have been difficult to understand. If you don’t know what period you’ve been using your spices, then you may not be able to determine if they’re suitable for consumption or not. Fortunately, most spices begin to degrade in various ways when they get older, signaling that it’s time to dispose of them.

Most of the time, the textures and colors tend to change initially. This means that vividly colored spices, as well as vibrant tastes, will disappear as time passes. If you notice the spices you’ve used are becoming less vibrant, it is likely time to get them out. Although they may be safe to consume, it’s also a sign that the flavor is diminishing too, and no one would want to eat a dish that has been poorly prepared.

One example of spices changing colors is when the leaves of parsley begin to change from their vibrant green to brownish yellow as if the leaves are dying. The older the leaves become brown, they lose their flavor completely. Another instance is the bright red spice turns an intense maroon shade. If the spice doesn’t appear to be the correct color, you should probably not take a chance.

Another method to determine whether your spices are going bad is to smell. Spices are known for their smell. If there’s almost no smell, then there is a high chance that you’ll also have very little or any flavor. It’s a fast and simple method to determine whether most powdered or ground spices have gone well or not.

“Schilling” Spices

Another thing to consider is whether your spice container is marked with the “Schilling” label. The containers of spices are likely to be over their expiration dates, usually 10 years old or older. This is because Schilling was once a major producer of spices. The company, referred to as A. Schilling & Company, was founded in 1881. It was among the oldest companies in the field of spices before another firm, McCormick & Company, specifically bought it and started managing spices under its brand name in 1946. Although spices were produced using Schilling labels and tin, they began to disappear. Schilling labels and in tin, after the change, the name was changed changing to McCormick around the time of the 1990s, and the last container labeled with Schilling was produced in 2002. So when you purchase a spice labeled by Schilling is likely to be at the very least one decade or so old or even more. There are some who keep these tins of spice and then sell them; however, you shouldn’t take what’s in them.

Extension of the life of your spices

Suppose you’d like to make sure that your seasonings stay as long as they can. There are several methods to achieve this. The first is that it depends completely on the kind of seasonings you’re using. In the end, there are some who think that oranges and lemons can be spices. However, they aren’t able to be stored inside an airtight container hoping that it will work. However, when you have a variety of plants and herbs, keeping the seasoning in a sealed container that is not exposed to moisture is the most effective option to prolong the life of your spice blends. Certain seasonings, like paprika, should be stored in the refrigerator. Most of the time, these spices are likely to be part of members of the pepper family.

It is possible to freeze spices. However, it’s not recommended for fresh herbs because it could alter the appearance, scent, and taste of some seasonings. If you are using fresh herbs, you are required to place them in an Ice cube tray (cut the herbs before in case you need to), add broth, water, or coffee (your preference) to the tray, then put them in the freezer. Once they’re ice cubes, all you need to do is to put them in Ziploc bags that have a label on them, then place them back in the freezer. If you ever need the herbs again, simply remove a cube and place it in the food you’re making.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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