How to reuse old spices, herbs

March 02, 2019
Herbs spices

DO herbs and spices have expiration date? Sellers say so. What about herbs that already look old, too dry and wilted, would they still be usable? Generally people would say yes. You probably have some herbs and spices in your pantry that you can’t remember buying.

Like in many ordinary households, you probably have some old herbs and spices in your pantry (and could not even remember you put them in a nice container).

Spices beyond their expiration dates aren’t going to make you sick or contaminate your food in any way, but they’re not nearly as potent as they used to be. The recommended shelf life for pre-ground spices is 12 months, whereas whole spices can last two to three years. Your nose can perform the test; if a particular spice doesn’t give off a strong aroma when you open it, surely it past its prime.

In order to use up old spices, make sure you use larger amounts in recipes when they’re called for. For example an oregano, you can use a tablespoon of it (if the recipe calls for a teaspoon) even if the herb is already stale.

If you have small amounts of spices, you can make spice blends of curry powder, grill mixes, herbes de Provence, taco seasoning mix, Italian seasoning, Cajun or jerk seasonings, or seasoned salt. You can also make spice pastes and freeze in an ice cube tray, or blend into compound butters.

For the ones that are really far-gone, you can still make use of them for household items. If you love making homemade candles and soaps, old ginger, cinnamon and cloves would give your project an incredible scent.

Herbs with pleasing smell can be used as your dresser, drawer or bath scent. Nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon and turmeric can also be used as your kids’ natural and safe water color or spice-based paints.

To make sure no more herbs and spices get wasted when you shop again, just smaller quantities and opt for whole spices whenever possible and grind them yourself (with mortar and pestle or coffee grinder) as needed.