There comes a day when you look in the kitchen cupboard that is dedicated to spices and realize it is getting out of control! At least for me since I am an organized crazy person. I love to cook and try new recipes, and luckily I have had many spices on hand for dishes that need specific spices. However, there were just so many canisters crowding my cupboard that I knew I needed to weed out the ones I didn’t use anymore (or have never used). I also had a lot of them stored on our kitchen island rolling cart, but those did not make the photo cut for the before and after pics.
Many of the spices we’ve accumulated have moved with us over the six years my husband and I have lived together, and I’d say a quarter of them were his from his bachelor days. Some of the spices I found hidden in the back (a.k.a. the never-used section) had expiration dates from almost 10 years ago! This got me thinking, have the spices really gone bad? Or can I still use them? I found a few articles that were very helpful in determining the shelf life of each type of spice. The main gist of my reading was that yes, you can still use them, but they’re not going to be nearly as potent or effective in your cooking if they’re well past the expiration date.
Check out this short article from Still Tasty, this comprehensive list which was very helpful, and this article from Huffington Post. While I don’t agree with the article from Huffington Post (it stated spices should be replaced every 6-12 months… I’d go broke), I used the other article and the list as guides. If I found something with an expiration date a few months, or even a year, past the amount of years listed online and it still smelled okay, I kept it. In the end, I still threw away 16 out of 36 types of spices! I felt bad throwing them out but I did recycle the containers. (And Kris helped!)
Learning about spices’ shelf lives showed me that I should buy my spcies in as small as containers as possible. Only buy in bulk if it’s something you use regularly and you know you’ll go through a lot of it! Also, one of the sites stated that salt will not go bad, so that was reassuring. And of course, a kitchen spice overhaul wouldn’t be complete without before and after pictures. See below! I used two small racks in the cupboard and lined them up so one was in the back and one in the front. You could put the lesser used items in the back and more popular items up front, where you’ll see them. We purchased the small racks from Ikea this past spring. I think they’re meant to hang on a wall or inside of a pantry or something, but I prefer just sitting them back to back on a shelf for now. You can purchase them for only $3.99 each here.
Hope you’re having a great summer!