I often have this problem that I don’t know exactly what I have in the kitchen. So much so, that I end up buying duplicates not realizing that I still have 3 bottles of ketchup, unused packs of flour, expired tea bags, and a whole lot of junk! Which reminds me I probably have to ‘Marie Kondo’ my kitchen soon.
As for spices, yes, I’m one of those who have the tendencies to buy spices and not fully utilizing them. I have a bottle of cinnamon powder, unused, sitting on my spice rack screaming ‘USE ME’, just because I felt I needed it for future use.
We normally put the spice we often use in the front and ones who rarely use at the back and these are the ones we tend to forget until they expire and we chose to just chuck them in the bin.
It’s important to take stock of all those spices and herbs, so you know what you’ve got and when it’s time to toss out the old stuff. Dried spices and herbs don’t necessarily “spoil,” but they do lose their flavor over time.
What we need is a bit of organization in the kitchen, including organizing your spice stash. Transparent containers or sealed plastic bags does wonders because you need to see what you store and label them please (it’ll be helpful when you ask the kids or husband to get a specific spice and they can’t tell the difference between oregano and basil, or rosemary and thyme!)
Experts agree that heat, light and oxygen are spices’ top enemies, thus the best way to store them is to minimize their exposure to these three elements. How? Here’s 5 ways to keep your spice in good conditions.
Keep spices airtight
Apparently opaque, airtight jars are the best bet. Airtight jars minimize the risk of oxidation and protects your spices so that it’ll last longer. Store them in clear plastic containers only if you plan to use them in few weeks because apparently the longer you keep them, the oils in the spices will break down the plastic.
I know it’s tempting to store your spices in beautiful glass jars and display them as if we are master chefs in the kitchen, but if you are serious about preserving their flavour and freshness for as long as possible, it’s better to clearly label them in opaque containers or jars instead.
Keep spices away from moisture
One of the common mistakes we make in the kitchen is to shake the spice jar directly over a hot pan or pot and thus letting the steam into our spice jar. This would lead to caking up the spices or worse still, makes it moldy in the long run! Spices need to be kept dry if you want them to stand the test of time. It’s better to use a spoon to scoop or pour the ground spices in (make sure you use a dry utensil or else you’re back to square one. Moisture + Spices =NO!). By using a spoon, you could avoid accidentally overspilling your spices in the dish. . Win-win situation right?
Keep your spices away from heat
Sometimes when you look at kitchen ideas or designs, you can’t help but in awe of the beautifully displayed spices on the windowsills or on racks above the stove or near it. One of the reason for doing so is usually for easier access to the spice while cooking. However this is also a BIG NO! The heat from the stove and sunlight by the window will both affect the flavour of the spices and will make them turn bland faster.
Keep it in a cool, dry place
To keep the flavor going as long as possible, store dried spices and herbs in a cool, dry place out of direct light. Ideally, store in a cool, dark cabinet or drawer, away from heat and light. Fresh herbs need to be stored properly too. You can keep them in the fridge in a jar filled with about an inch of water so that it stays fresh.
Keep track of the age of your spices
Clean out your spice drawer or fridge on a regular basis. Sure, the expired ones can still be used, provided it’s not moldy but it would lose out on freshness and flavour. What’s the use of spice if it no longer serves its’ purpose of adding flavour to your dish right? Keeping them in clearly labeled containers will help you to keep track of the age and encourage you use them in rotation. By regularly cleaning out your spice collection, you would know exactly what you have and what you need to top up. You really don’t need 5 types of black pepper.
We at Gogopasar hope that this article will encourage you to store your spices better!