Spices are a key to component to almost all recipes, which is why you shouldn’t skip out on adding different types of spices to your long-term food storage plan.
Sure, stockpiling staples and canned goods is important, but what makes these food items tastier are the spices, and who wants to eat bland food in an emergency?
We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy delicious, home cooked meals, regardless to outside circumstances! This is why we recommend you add spices to your emergency food supply, and stay tuned for our best tips on storing spices long-term.
In this blog post, we dive deep into why spices go bad, and what you can do to extend the shelf-life of your favorite spices.
Spices: Why Do They Go Bad?
Yes, believe it or not, spices do go bad! If you think that food spoilage just means moldy food and spoiled milk, you are wrong. Although spices don’t show the usual signs of spoilage, they do go bad if they are not stored properly.
Spices contain oils that yield the flavors and scents we love, along with nutritional values that are essential to living a healthy life. However, when spices are not stored effectively, these oils break apart, which results in a loss of flavor, scent, and nutritional value.
This is not to say that spices that have gone bad will make you sick, but they won’t have the same flavor and nutritional value as fresh spices.
Spices: What is the Shelf-Life?
The shelf-life of spices depends on the form and type of the spice. For example, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper stay fresher for longer as whole spices than they do as ground spices.
On average, whole spices have a shelf-life of 3-4 years, while ground spices have a shelf-life of 2 years, but there are many factors that come into play when it comes to the shelf life of spices. For example, if you buy fresh spices, they will last longer than packaged spices.
The only exception to this is salt, as salt never goes bad due to its chemical composition. However, if you buy a container of salt that has added seasonings, chances are it will come with a best-before date. It’s hard to estimate the shelf life in this instance as it depends on what seasoning is with the salt, but generally speaking, seasoned salts have a shelf-life of 3-5 years.
5 Tips to Extend the Shelf-Life of Spices
- Store Spices in a Cold, Dry, and Dark Place
Moisture, heat, light, and oxygen typically cause foods to spoil more quickly, and spices are no exception. If you want your spices to stay fresh for as long as possible, then you need to try to keep them away from moisture and heat by storing them in a cold, dry, and dark place.
- Avoid Storing Spices in Refrigerators
Refrigerators are a cool, dark space to store food, so it might sound like a great place to store spices. However, keeping all your herbs and spices in the refrigerator is not going to preserve them. The humidity in the fridge can clump the spices together or make them mold, so you should avoid storing spices in your refrigerator.
- Keep Your Spices in a Food Cellar
Storing spices in a cool, dark, and dry place is critical to extending their shelf life! This is why we recommend storing them in a food cellar, as a food cellar will prevent exposure to moisture, heat, and excessive light.
If you do not have a food cellar, your next best bet would be to store your spices in your pantry, basement, or garage depending on what the climate is like where you live.
Prepping is personal, so we advise you to base your decision off of what area of your house offers the most cool, dark, and dry space for storage.
- Buy Whole Spices
As mentioned above, whole spices have a longer shelf-life than ground spices. So, you should plan to buy whole spices over ground spices if you want to prep long-term.
Ground spices may seem convenient short-term, but there is much more opportunity for ground spices to be exposed to moisture when compared to whole spices. As a result, ground spices spoil much faster than whole spices.
All in all, we recommend whole spices over ground spices because they aren’t as susceptible to moisture, heat, and excessive light.
They also aren’t as inconvenient as you might be assuming. You can easily grind them yourself with a spice or coffee grinder!
- Use Glass Jars or Mylar Bags to Extend Shelf-Life
To increase the shelf-life of your spices, you can use glass jars or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for storage.
If you are using glass jars, be sure to use mason jars as they come with airtight silicone seals. You can easily purchase mason jars online at a low cost.
If you are using Mylar bags to store your spices, we recommend purchasing a high-quality Mylar bag and pairing it with an oxygen absorber. The thickness of a well made bag will block exposure to moisture, light, and oxygen. When you add an oxygen absorber to your Mylar bag it will remove all of the oxygen from the bag and, in turn, extend the shelf life of your spices to it’s fullest extent.
When you store whole spices in Wallaby Goods Mylar bags, you can expect them to stay fresh for up to 10 years!
You can easily extend the shelf life of your favorite spaces if you store them carefully and effectively.
Whether you are a prepper, you have a home spice garden, or you prefer to buy ingredients in bulk, you can use these tips to store spices long-term effectively.
If you decide to store your spices in Mylar bags to increase their shelf-life, you should check out Wallaby’s premium, 3 layer Mylar bags.
We are passionate about giving you everything that you need to maximize your food, so our Mylar bags always come with oxygen absorbers and labels to help you organize your spices, or whatever other low-moisture food items you need to store!Shop our site to discover why thousands of happy customers love Wallaby.