“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”
Have you ever baked a fantastically spicy and flavorful cake or cookie, only to have the same recipe turn out “Ho-Hum” the next time you baked it? Chances are, it was your spices that let you down.
Spices do have a shelf life. The difference between your cucumber and your cardamon, is that the cucumber will give you visual cues that it’s time has come. Spices are more subtle, simply losing potency over time. This might not sound so bad, but when you’re counting on a tried, tested, and/or beloved recipe, old spices can yield disappointing results.
So how much time does your cinnamon have? Some foodies advise you to pitch spices after 6 months. More recently, I’ve read that spice companies claim ground spices have 2-3 years of life… My experience has been that ground spice lasts about 1 year, and I replace them accordingly.
If you can’t remember how long those spices have been sitting in your cupboard, then perhaps it’s time to do a little spring cleaning. Your taste buds may just be surprised at how amazing your next batch of gingerbread is.
Things to know…
To keep your spices tasting their best, store them away from ovens, stoves, and dishwashers. Ideally, they should be kept somewhere cool and dark, but not the freezer.