Scenic Erie Station Village

Have Your Spices Gone Stale? Here’s the Best Way to Store Them.

Spoons holding various colorful spices. Image credit: Anastasia Belousova

January 2023


Have you ever spent time cooking a favorite meal only to discover it tastes a bit bland? In the same way that any food only stays fresh for so long, your spices have a shelf life, too. But while it’s easy to tell a carton of milk has spoiled, spices are a bit trickier.

The of the most obvious signs your spices have lost their potency is their color. As spices age, they lose their vibrant color. They’ll still have some color, but it will just be more muted. Another sign is that they don’t have as much of an aroma, or any aroma. If you’re finding either of those two things to be happening and your cooking isn’t as flavorful, it’s likely time to replace a spice.

Every shopper knows, spices aren’t cheap. Unless you go through your spices quickly, knowing how to correctly store them will save you bland meals and money. Here are five ways to make your spices stay fresher longer:

Consider the Source

Spices are one of those things where you get what you pay for. Budget spices aren’t as fresh and don’t last as long, so be sure to buy a high-quality brand from a reputable source.

Air is the Enemy

Exposure to air is bad for spices. When storing them, be sure the containers you use are airtight. We prefer glass jars with a screw-on lid that seals well. If you buy spices in bulk or in larger containers, transfer them to smaller containers as you use them up. The more air space in a container, the more air there will be to reduce the life of that spice.

Dark is Better

Limiting exposure to sunlight is also important. Be sure to store your spices in dark glass jars or keep them in a closed drawer or cabinet.

Be Cool

If there are warmer places in your kitchen – sunny spots, by your oven – avoid them. Spices last longer when they’re kept cool.

Buy Whole When You Can

Ground spices are more convenient when cooking, but if you can buy whole spices and grind them yourself, they’ll last longer. Examples of spices you can buy whole and grind as needed include dried chilies, nutmeg, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, curry leaf, and cardamon.

If you take good care of them, your spices should last at least a year and your meals will be as tasty as ever. We hope you make a lot of successful meals in your apartment or townhome, because we’ve made sure that all of our kitchens at Erie Station Village are well equipped with high quality countertops, cabinets and appliances. We think cooking at home is a big part of what makes a home feel like home. Bon Appétit!