Are There Dangers Lurking in Your Spice Rack?

Red Dried Goji Berries In Wooden Spoon

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How can you tell when a spice has gone bad or how long they should last if there is no label? In general, you can refer to the following list:

    • Color – if your spice has lost its color, it’s most likely not going to have much flavor. Red spices such as paprika or chili powder, turn brown with age. Leafy herbs such as basil go from an olive green to a drab army green.
    • Scent – pour a bit of the spice into your hand. If you aren’t immediately greeted by the scent, it’s more than likely past its prime. If it’s a whole spice, like a cinnamon stick, break it or crush it to release its scent. Again, if you close your eyes and you can’t smell the spice, it’s time to toss it.
    • Most ground spices will last between 3 to 5 years.
    • Leafy herbs, such as basil, will last only 1 to 3 years.
    • Whole spices, since they haven’t been compromised, can last longer; as much as 5 to 7 years.
    • Flavored extracts, such as almond extract, can also last as long as 5 years.
    • Liquid marinades, sauces, and bottled seasonings are good for 1 or 2 years.
    • Dry recipe mixes are good for as long as 2 years
    • Fresh spices, however, are only good for one week, with garlic being the exception. Fresh garlic is good for as long as 6 months.

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