Thursday, May 27, 2010

How To: Clean out your Spice Rack

Confession time.

I have no clue how old some of the spices in my spice rack are. Truly, no clue.

Some spices were given to me, some were handed down, some I bought a long time ago, but used rarely.

So the question lies... How do you know when your spices have gone bad?

I went on a hunt and here is what I found.

"The Life of Spice"
(taken from

After reading this list a few things popped out to me:

1. Pure Vanilla lasts indefinitely- Wow!

2. Whole spices can last up to twice as long as ground spices

So if you are like me, you may have no clue as to when you first opened your spice.

If so, here are some tips to help:

If the color of your spice has faded, odds are the spice will not be as flavorful.

Rub or crush the spice in your hand and if the aroma or taste is weak, it is time to replace!

If the spice has begun to clump or harden, it is old and ready to be thrown out.

If you buy McCormick Seasonings, you are in luck! They have a very useful tool on their site that allows you to check the date of when the spice you have was manufactured. All you need to do is enter the code on the bottom of your spice bottle into the "Fresh Tester" on their site.

Another confession... The "Fresh Tester" says my Onion Powder is... eeks- 7 years old!

Time to replace the Onion Powder, along with many other spices in my rack!

I would love to know what your top 3 most used spices in your cabinet are (besides good ole' salt and pepper!).

Please leave a comment and let us know!


Cris said...

Cumin! both ground and whole seeds. Garlic powder and oregano are also a must to have on hand. Any of these 3 can do wonders to lift the flavors of food to a higher level.

Stephanie said...

Hard to say for sure, but cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder are used a ton.

amanda said...

This is a really good idea. Spices are so expensive, I hate to throw them away when they may still be good.

Ethiopianmomma said...

Cumin is my top used spice. I also love cinnamon,nutmeg, and shiro.

The Martin Family said...

I use taco seasoning, chili powder, lemon pepper and parsley enough that I buy the mega size containers of each. I also use a ton of cinnamon and ground mustard.

MommaHughes said...

parsley and oregano, and Italian seasoning. :0) Excellent bits of knowledge Sarah. Thank you. We got a spice rack as a gift when we married. I finally threw the whole thing away this year. (6 years later) :) I guess it was time, huh? :)

Suzie said...

My top used spices are chili powder, cinnamon, and probably oregano.