Yes, they lose flavor over time. Store them in airtight containers away from heat and they will last longer. Near the stove is not a good location for spices and herbs. I buy small amounts at the Bulk Barn and turf them out every New Years. That way I don't waste much, and I get good flavorful recipes all year.
Fitness Minutes: (1,751)
214 1/27/13 7:32 P
Interesting...I didn't realize spice companies had that on their websites. I'll have to check that out! Otherwise, I do the sniff test as others mentioned as well as I try to write on the jars the date I opened them.
I just got rid of quite a few that were expired...or else I just use more of a spice than what is called for to make up for the loss of potency.
Fitness Minutes: (2,836)
3,147 1/23/13 12:08 P
Newer spices generally have an expiration date. For those that don't, go to the company's website. Most have a place to enter the number on the bottom of the jar. Hit "send" and it gives the expiration date. The sites also have ideas for using the spices. I use it when a spice I bought for one recipe is about to expire.
It's a yes-and-no thing. In general, yes they do. But it depends on how you store them and the expiration date is not a good measure.
 If your spices are based around essential oils, over time, especially in warm and lit environments they'll oxidize and go rancid ... and start tasting bad
 Some spices simply loose most of their flavor over time and go 'stale' ... ground pepper is one of these. Cumin another, and nutmeg, etc.
 Plenty of 'dried' spices that are not 'ground' will last a LONG time if you keep them (a) cool, (b) in the dark, and (c) well-sealed. See for example: whole cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, allspice. You can also freeze whole dried spices that are seeds that need to be ground.
 I agree with the 'sniff test' already proposed.
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
3,116 1/17/13 2:38 P
Yes, they do expire. Some take on a totally different taste.
Guess I am telling on myself, but I had a thing of baking powder that expired in 2002 and an onion soup mix from 2009. I threw a grabage bag FULL of stuff out, just like in my pantry. The organization and space is making me feel so empowered!
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 1/14/13 11:36 A
I do what CAPECODELITE does... the sniff test. I've had a few spices for years that still smell great, and work fine for cooking. Other ones, not so much. I have noticed the ground spices tend to last longer than the dried leaf type ones. I also keep them in a cabinet versus in a rack on the counter, so maybe that helps too.
Fitness Minutes: (12,489)
520 1/14/13 9:05 A
I do not keep any spice for longer than 12 months. No matter how they look or smell. I go to stores that sell a lot of spices. The grocery store may have then on the shelf longer than you may think.
Fitness Minutes: (49,944)
3,090 1/13/13 6:03 P
I just cleaned out my spice cabinet too! I did the "sniff" test. If when I opened the lid, they still had a pungent smell, I kept them. When I replaced them with new one's, I made sure I bought the smallest bottle available. Spices are expensive; so I was lucky, when I saw they were on sale at the food store, that's when I did the clean out.
I've been in an organizing mood. I cleaned out my pantry, closet and under my bathroom counter, and my next project is my spice cabinet. I'm throwing out anything with an expired date on it, but a lot of the spices don't have dates, so I have no clue if they are expired or still good. Any thoughts or suggestions?
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