Old Spice-New Spice
Spices add a lot to everything that we cook and bake in our kitchens…as well as adding to the flavor of life, too. 😉 But, spices that are old can just be plain worn out and won’t add much, if anything at all, to your baking. Old Spice-New Spice? Once a year I replace most all of my spices, and since Thanksgiving is the major food holiday in the U.S., I refresh each November in order to have the best flavor possible in my pies, and in anything else I’m cooking up for the big day. Here are a few spice guidelines for you.
- Spices can’t go bad, spoil, or become rancid, but they do lose potency and flavor as they age.
- Rule of thumb is that ground spices will last 6 months to 1 year, and whole spices will last 18 months.
- Spices that you find on the shelves of the average grocery chain most likely have been there for a year or more, and probably have been sitting in a warehouse for up to a year before that! Although quality may not be the first thing on the supplier’s mind, let it be the first thing on yours.
- Store spices correctly; no extreme temperatures, either hot or cold.
- Store in a dark cupboard away from light sources or in darker glass airtight jars.
- Only buy what you think you’ll use in a 6 month to 1 year period. You can always get more when needed.
- Buy from a reputable local spice store that has a good turn over of inventory, or online at places like Market Spice, Penzeys, The Spice House. (In case you are wondering, I have no relationship to any of these three spice companies other than liking their spices.)
Here’s my pumpkin pie recipe which uses a good amount of fresh spices to give it great flavor. I use light coconut milk in it, but feel free to substitute canned evaporated milk—that’s how my grandmother, Geeg, used to make it.