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shelf life on spices


Cyndi Lou

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What do you think the shelf life is on basic spices.  I have jars and jars of them but have not been using them much lately so may be two or more years old.  I am not sure which ones are newer and which ones are older.  I was just thinking about tossing all of them and starting over.  Not sure what to do.

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A quick search turned up this answer that says they're probably okay for 3-4 years -- and that same site has a Keep It or Toss It list that you could consult too. 

 

I would probably go by smell -- if they smell pretty strong, they probably still have a pretty strong flavor and would be fine. If you open the jar and don't smell anything, and crush a little between your fingers and still don't smell anything, they're probably not going to be very effective for flavoring food. 

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A lot of cooking snobs will say that all the powdered spices you'd buy at the grocery store are already useless, and the only way any spice is worth anything is to freshly grind it yourself as you're needing it to use in cooking.  Seems a little extreme to me.

I think the smell/crush test is a-ok.

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