Stock Your Spices

Herbs and spices are invaluable, even for kitchen novices. Unfortunately, some of us don’t capitalize on these flavor assists because our spice racks are a bit of a mess. Be encouraged. It’s easy to establish order.

Start by tossing anything that doesn’t smell fresh. Your nose will tell you if herbs and spices are still flavorful. Replace if there’s no aroma. For whole herbs, break a stem, then try the smell test. If you can’t remember what’s in a bottle or when you used it, throw it out.

Store your most frequently used spices front and center, or line up your jars alphabetically. Create groups of spices you use together, such as baking spices. We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly used herbs and spices for fall.

Keep your spices organized with our Spice Jar Labels. Print them out on copier paper. Cut out along solid lines. Use double-stick tape to adhere labels to spice jars.

Dried Herbs

Retain flavors by storing herbs whole and crushing them just before use. They last about a year in a dark, cool spot. Dried herbs will lose color and pungency over time.

Dried Seeds
Only grind the amount needed for each recipe. Once coriander and other seeds are ground, the oils in them begin to dry out and lose their flavor, so the ground seeds can only be stored a few months.

Powdered Spices
Cayenne pepper usually comes in powdered form, as do many spices. Powders should be stored in a dark, cool pantry. They will last about a year, though you should confirm that by smelling a powder before each use.

Fresh Herbs
Extend the useful life of most fresh herbs by refrigerating them. Wrap them in a damp paper towel inside a resealable plastic bag and put in the fridge. They will last a few extra days.

Unexpected Shapes
Though star anise looks different than other herbs, it stores easily. Grind an entire star and place the powder in an airtight container away from heat and sun. It stays fresh for about two years.

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