Test Kitchen tips: Storing and dating spices for freshness

Storing dried spices and herbs.
(Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

Nothing can kill a good recipe faster than a lack of spice.

Even kitchen staples such as dried herbs and spices have an expiration date and can lose their potency over time. Properly stored, spices can last a year or two at most, with whole spices generally lasting longer than ground. Store your spices in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and keep them tightly sealed.

Whenever I open a new spice jar, I date the back so I can keep tabs on how long it’s been open. Once a year, I’ll rummage through the collection and check on them. Spices that still have some potency should have their original color, with a vibrant smell and fresh taste. Old or expired spices often lose their color, becoming dull, and have very little, if any, smell or flavor.

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