Since a traditional meal can become a culinary delight just by adding a few fresh herbs and spices, we’re going to checking the freshness of our herbs and spices today. A fresh spice can turn a drab dinner into a delightful dining experience!
Step 23 :: Check Freshness of Herbs and Spices
Replacing whole spices every 4 years, ground spices every 2-3 years, and leafy herbs every 1-3 years is a good guideline to use. But unless you keep very detailed records of when you buy new herbs and spices (and seriously who would do that) it’s a good idea to periodically check your spices for freshness.
To test the freshness of your herbs and spices:
- Smell. Grab a pinch and rub it in your palm with your finger. There should be a strong aroma. If not, there’s a good chance that spice needs to be replaced.
- Color. Red spices will turn brown as they age and green spices will darken. If the color of your spices are not as brilliant as they once were, it may be time to replace.
- Texture. If the spice has caked together in the bottle or on the lid, it most likely is outdated or moisture has been trapped inside the bottle.
- Date. If you keep herbs and spices in their original containers, there may be an expiration date on the bottle. Take a look and replace when necessary.
To test the freshness of baking soda and baking powder:
- Check the freshness of baking soda by mixing 1/2 cup of hot water with 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar. Then stir in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. If the soda bubbles it’s still fresh.
- Check the freshness of baking powder by stirring 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of hot water. If the powder bubbles, it’s still fresh.
Of course there are a few precautions you can take to keep your spices fresh as long as possible:
- Avoid sprinkling spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot or there will be loss of flavor and cake the contents.
- Avoid storing spices and herbs over the stove.
- Store in airtight bottles in a cool dry space.
So, your task for the day is to check the freshness of your herbs, spices, baking soda, and baking powder. Then make sure to check out the rest of the Your Guide to a Clean and Organized Kitchen series here!