How to keep spices fresh for longer


Do you have a spice rack in your pantry? If you’re like most of us, you will have at least a few spice jars that have been sitting there unused for years. Remember that exotic mix you picked up when you last travelled overseas? Or the packet of dried herbs from that gift hamper five Christmases ago?

 Spices can lose their freshness and flavour if not stored properly. While whole spices last longer than ground up ones, stored properly even ground spices will not lose their flavour for years.

Why do spices go off? 

There are three main reasons why spices go off over time – moisture, oxygen and light.

Exposure to light causes pigments in the spices to break down especially in case of turmeric, coriander and red chilli powder. Storing them in dark coloured containers helps avoid this.

Oxygen and moisture in the air react with the natural oils in the spices causing them to lose their flavour. Keep them in their original airtight packaging to avoid undue exposure.

Best way to store spices 

If you buy your spices in bulk, it is best to decant a small amount for regular use and store the rest in a cool dark place until needed. Store your spices in the fridge in a dark, air-tight container to keep them fresh for longer.

Fortunately consuming stale spices isn’t harmful, only pointless. After all, life is too short to eat boring, flavourless food!

Importance of packaging at Spicecraft  

At Spicecraft we use special packaging to keep spice mixes as fresh as possible without additives.

The sachets are made of a durable three layered material. The thick outer kraft layer keeps out the light. In the middle is a layer of metal foil which forms a barrier against moisture and oxygen. Finally the innermost layer is a thin plastic laminate to allow the sachets to be sealed. This process enables us to use the least amount of plastic and the sachets can be recycled using the ‘hydropulping’ method.

Filling the spice mixes into this thick material a tricky process, but goes a long way in maintaining that flavour you know and love.

Store your kits in a cool, dark environment and use up all the spices once the sachets are opened. If you are not planning to cook for 6, it is better to make the entire batch and freeze the unused portions. In fact you will find that the flavour turns out better the next time.

Have a question about spices or Indian cooking? Drop us a line or ask on our Facebook page.

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