Spice Up Your Life

Spice Up your Life  

Most of us have a collection of dried spices; like cinnamon, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, all spice and dried herbs; like oregano, basil, and sage sitting in containers in our kitchen.

It’s important to take stock of all those spices and herbs, so you know what you’ve got and when it’s time to toss out the old stuff. Dried spices and herbs don’t necessarily “spoil,” but they do lose their flavour over time. To keep the flavour going as long as possible, store dried spices and herbs in a cool, dry place out of direct light not over the stove, since all that heat will make them turn bland more quickly. Always, always keep the containers closed when not in use.

When we think about how spices use to be stored to the options available now, I am always reminded of a story a friend of my mum told me once.

“Mum had this habit of buying little spice containers and putting them in one of many racks in her well used pantry. To make sure they fit into the array of different sized racks she would reuse old container and jars then using sticky tape and bits of paper she’d label up that amazing collection of Spices many of which never found their way into anything we ate.

I can recall smelling Nutmeg, Cinnamon, All Spice, Clove and Ginger and not having a clue what was what, as not only had the spices been in the racks for an unknown amount of time, but Mum’s really poor way of labelling her spices, in those days the sticky tape would always go yellow and the Biro never lasted more than a few months before fading. I still think very fondly of how we would spend some hours opening and closing the pantry door searching for a spices and hoping that we would be putting the Cinnamon in our porridge and not cumin.”

Time To Get Organised

One of the best ways to organise your dried spices and herbs is to ensure you can see everything you’ve got, not just the stuff you use all the time. After all, it’s a waste when a spice disappears into a corner and you forget you even have it—then you buy it all over again. Keeping your pantry organised will also help you enjoy cooking more and save you tons of time. Clear containers with an airtight seal, like our Herb & Spice Jars, will help keep your entire collection fresh, tidy and visible. The range gives you flexibility in deciding where to store the containers: in a cabinet on a bamboo shelf, in a drawer, on a turntable or anywhere you have room. The tight seal helps spices maintain their flavour by keeping out air and moisture and using spice labels help you easily identify each item and a used by label for when it is time to chuck out the spice.

Be Careful When Cooking

It’s tempting to just dump spices into your recipe over the pot, but it can affect the quality of your spices over time. By holding your spices open over the stove, you are forcing them into the heat and the steam rising off your food may cause condensation inside of the spice containers. Our Herb & Spice Jars have a wide top to give you access with a spoon allowing you to keep the spice away from the stove before adding them to your dish keeping the moisture out. 

How To Know When Spices Are Done

As a common rule ground spices will last about six months, while whole spices can retain their flavour for much longer, up to two years. But before you throw out a spice, try sprinkling a little on your hand and smelling it. What you will find is fresh spices should be very fragrant, while old ones won’t have much scent at all. Generally, the older a spice is, the less flavour it’s going to add.

Storing your spices properly will ensure that when you come back to a spice after taking some time away you find it just as fragrant and flavourful as you remember it being.

Take care of your spices and they will take care of your food, ensuring the best flavour is added each time you sit down to eat.

Mix It Up

When my spices are running low in the jars I like to create spice mixes to use as rubs on meats or seasoning to add extra flavour. 

This is my quick homemade taco seasoning. I think this version tastes even better than the packets and will save you a lot of time and money. You can mix a big batch and store it in a large spice jar. Two tablespoons of this mixture is the equivalent of one packet.

  • 8 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper


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