March 4, 2021

Do Spices Go Bad? Shelf Life of Spices Chart

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Old and stale spices do little good to your food. Keep your spices fresh and flavourful by having a clear out once in a while. This shelf life of spices chart will help you keep your spice drawer in check.

spices on shelf. Shelf life of spices chart

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Do you wonder if you should throw away old and expired spices even they do not look bad and you have hardly ever used them?

The short answer is Yes, you should.

There is an optimal shelf life of spices, and they are best used before that. See the chart to see the recommended shelf life of spices.

Do Spices Go Bad?


Once opened, spices tend to gradually loose their flavour, if not stored or used within a certain time.

This is because spices are made of aromatic volatile oils that is released when it comes in contact with air or heat.

The interesting point is that spices do not go bad or show visual signs of deterioration such as mold, rotten, or bad smell like regular fresh/stored food products.

However some spices can grow salmonella or minuscule white insects over time. Apart from this there is an optimal flavour life and hence there is an expiration date of spices on packs.

So in short spices do go bad and need to be used or thrown away if too old.

This post shares tips on how to store spices properly and reuse old or stale spices.

How Long Can You Keep Spices?

Now that we know that spices do not last forever , the question is:

When do you throw away spices?

Most people, blogs and chefs will recommend using spices withing 6 months from the date of opening.

But lets get real. How many of us homecooks actually do that?!

Baring a few OCD’s I believe most of us continue to use spices.

Not only do we NOT throw the spices but few also choose to ignore the expiration date and continue to use spices.

Now, there are health repercussions as you can get sick from eating old spices so I would be careful when using expired spices.

The spice shelf life chart below is a rough guide on the optimal flavour life of spices. I would highly recommend to take into account any visual, smell or flavour deterioration even if the chart recommends a certain shelf life period.

Here is the recommended time frame on how long you can keep spices for:

shelf life of spices chart

Shelf Life of Spices Chart Of Most Used Spices

This ultimate list of spices shelf life chart can be followed as a recommendation as long as the spices are properly stored.

Please do check the pack/jars for signs of contamination and the expiration date before using.

The chart includes the most popularly used spices, herbs and seasonings. So if I am missing a few, follow the suggested shelf shelf of spices and herbs above.

Click on the name of spices/herbs in orange to know more about the spice.

Spice/Herb/Seasoning/
Blend
WholeGroundFreshDried
All spice2-3 year2 – 3 years
Amchoor (Dry mango powder) 3-4 years3-4 years
Aniseed2-3 years2-3 years
Apple pie spice1-2 years2-3 years
Asafoetida 2-3 years1-2 years
Baharat Seasoning2-3 years
Basil4 – 5 days1-2 years
Bayleaves2-3 years1 week
Black cardamom2-3 years1-2 years
Black pepper2-3 years6 months
Cajun spice1- 2 years
Caraway seeds2-3 years
Cardamom (Black)2-3 years1-2 years
Cardamom (Green)2-3 years1-2 years
Carom seeds
(Ajwain)
2-3 years
Coriander 2-3 years6 -12 months5 days6 -12 months
Cinnamon 2-3 years1-2 years
Cloves2-3 years1-2 years
Cumin2-3 years6 -12 months
Curry powder 6 -12 months
Dill6 -12 months5 days
Fennel2-3 years6 -12 months
Fenugreek3-4 years1- 2 years2-3 years7 days
Five spice (Chinese)1- 2 years
Garlic1- 2 years2-3 years1 month
Ginger1- 2 years1 month
Garam Masala6 -12 months
Harissa Spice blend6 -12 months
Herbes de Provence6 -12 months
Italian Herb Seasoning6 -12 months
Jerk Seasoning6 -12 months
Kaffir Lime Leaves6 -12 months7 days (frozen 12 months)6 -12 months
Mace2-3 years1-2 years
Mint6 months7 days (frozen 3 months)6 months
Mustard 3-4 years1-2 years
Marjoram2 weeks6 -12 months
Nigella Seeds2-3 years
Nutmeg2-3 years1-2 years
Onion Powder1-2 years
Paprika1-2 years
Parsley1 week6 months
Poppy seeds2-3 years
Panch Phoron2-3 years
Ras El Hanout6 -12 months
Rosemary2 weeks6-12 months
Saffron1-2 years6 months
Sage1 week6-12 months
Sesame Seeds2- 3 years
Star Anise2-3 years1-2 years
Sumac Spice2-3 years1-2 years
Taco Seasoning6-12 months
Tandoori Spice6-12 months
Thyme1-2 years2-3 years1-2 weeks
Turmeric 4-5 years1-2 years1 month4-5 years
Zaatar Spice6-12 months
Wasabi1-2 years1 month1-2 years

To Conclude

We have a tendency to hoard spices and enjoy looking at our collection regardless of whether we use them or not.

Sadly, these little pride and joy of the kitchen called spices do become old and stale and loose their liveliness if left for too long.

It is a good idea to take stock and clean up your spice cupboard once in a while. Spices are known to be health and flavour boosters. It is perhaps not doing much if they have been lying around for too long just watching you.

They will be fresh and happy if you get through them in a timely regular way.

shelf life of  spices chart pinterest image

Buy Spices

If you are looking to buy fresh organic spices my recommended store is The Spice House. Click here to discover the world of flavors at TheSpiceHouse.com.


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