Fresh spices make for incredible food, so it’s important to make sure your spices are adding their best flavors to your cooking. Dried herbs and spices don’t spoil necessarily, but they do lose flavor and aroma over time. Since spices don’t expire like a gallon of milk, it can be difficult to gauge when to replace them. We gathered our best tips for determining spice freshness so you can cook more delicious food using the most flavorful spices. If you have any questions about spices and freshness.
Sight: You eat with your eyes first. Color and appearance don’t always define a spice’s quality, but they can be an indicator of freshness. As spices and dried herbs age, so do their color. If you find your cinnamon, parsley flakes, or paprika looking a little sun-faded, odds are their aroma has faded too.
Smell & Taste: Your spices should be flavorful and full of aroma. Shake your jar of ground cinnamon, open the cap, and gently waft the smell to your nose. Even better, take a pinch of the spice and place it in the center of your palm. Using your other thumb, smush the spices around to coax out the essential oils. (This is extra important for dried herbs, as they should be crushed before using them anyways.) If you’re not impressed with the flavor or aroma of the spice in your palm, it’s time to replace them.
Sound: Okay, we’re just joking about this one, but if you’re considering listening to your spices, you should consider refreshing your supply.