While it is highly unlikely for spices to go bad, they could lose their color and rich flavor due to poor storage. These would then affect the flavors of the meals that you prepare using these spices, ruining your specialty cuisines. More so, poor storage of spices could lead to confusion and use of the wrong spices. Some spices have a similar appearance and aroma, which means that the key to distinguishing such is proper labeling and storage. So, how do you store spices properly?
Keep them dry
Adding moisture to your spices increases their rate of staleness, which is the loss of flavor and color. Use a dry spoon to scoop your spices from their containers and make sure that you keep moisture from getting into the spices.
Store them in tightly sealed and well-labeled containers
If possible, make sure that the containers are airtight to avoid moisture being drawn into your spices. Storing spices in tightly sealed containers also helps you avoid contamination from dirt and dust in the air as well as other contaminants. Proper labeling is necessary so as to avoid confusing the containers and using the wrong spice.
Build a spice rack
To avoid misplacing, losing, mixing up or contaminating the spices, build or buy a spice rack. Even if it’s not exactly a spice rack, you can set aside a kitchen shelf for the storage of your spices.
Keep them away from direct sunlight
This applies to all spices but most especially the light sensitive ones. Storing them in direct sunlight increases the rate of loss of color. This is even more crucial if your spices are stored within glass jars or containers.
Keep them away from direct heat
Spices should be stored at room temperature. An increase in temperature increases the risk of moisture forming within the container and of the spices losing their flavor.
Don’t mix different spices together
Mixing spices increases the risk of altered flavor. The stronger spice, in this case, would have a greater impact on the flavor of the less strong spice.
Many people are conflicted about the refrigeration of spices. It is by far the best method of preserving spices and especially the flavor. However, after removal from storage, the risk of condensation and moisture forming and the spice caking is very high. If you feel that you must refrigerate your spices, then make sure that they are in airtight containers, and not in the freezer. However, spices can be well preserved and stored at room temperature, so it is not necessary to take up refrigeration space by storing spices in your refrigerator.