|Here’s some sage advice: Every January, toss out all of your old herbs and spices and start the year with fresh ones. After jars are opened, ground spices and dried herbs lose their potency—that’s why those jumbo jars are rarely a bargain. Buy only what you use regularly. If you rarely use mace, e.g., wait until you need it for a recipe. Even never-opened jars of spices and herbs will degrade on the shelf after a couple of years. If exposed to heat or light, they deteriorate even faster (store your spices away from the stove and oven, and avoid countertop spice carousels). Whenever you can, buy whole spices and grind them in a spice mill as needed. We use a peppermill, a nutmeg grinder and a multipurpose spice and herb grinder. Learn about checking the freshness of your spices. Read more about different spices in the Salts & Seasonings Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.||
From the day they’re dried and packaged, herbs and spices loose their flavor. Read the article to see how long you should keep them before you may as well use nothing. Photo of cardamom by Kristian Birchall | SXC.
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