Cleaning out expired spices is important for both your health. Spices that have gone bad can pose serious health risks, not to mention they take up valuable space in your pantry.
Have you ever opened up your spice drawer only to find a bunch of expired spices? It’s a common problem that many of us face, and interestinly you should leave them in your drawer. Not only can expired food waste so much space in your fridge and pantry, but it can also be dangerous if the expired food is consumed. Below is why it’s important to clean out expired spices and other foods, along with tips on how to do it effectively.
1. Understand The Risks Associated With Expired Spices
While it may be tempting to hold onto spices for years, it’s essential to understand that they don’t last forever. The potency and flavour of herbs and spices will deteriorate over time, making them less effective in recipes. Additionally, expired spices can pose health risks. Certain spices like cinnamon and paprika can create fungal toxins if not properly stored, which can cause illness if ingested. Ingesting expired spices can lead to digestive problems, food poisoning, and even salmonella outbreaks.
2. Check The Expiry Dates and Look For Warning Signs
To minimise the risk of illness, it’s important to check the expiry dates of your spices. Spices will lose their flavour after about 6-8 months, so it’s best to replace them before they go bad. Additionally, if you notice any discolouration, clumping, or a strange smell, it’s a good indication that your spices have gone bad. When in doubt, throw them out.
When adding your herbs and spices to your cart at the grocery store, check the expired date there to ensure you aren’t bringing home one already passed its date.
3. Properly Store Your Spices
To extend the shelf life of your spices, it’s important to store them properly. Spices should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Avoid storing them near your stove or any heat sources, as heat can cause spices to lose their potency. You can also store them in airtight containers to keep them fresh for longer.
I keep my spices in a drawer, using this spice drawer organiser.
4. Be Selective with Your Spice Purchases
To avoid accumulating expired spices, be selective with your spice purchases. Instead of buying large quantities, opt for small jars or packets. This way, you can ensure that you use the spices before they expire. Moreso, buying whole spices that you grind yourself can help improve their shelf-life.
5. How to Clean Out Your Spices Collection
Cleaning out your expired spices is a simple process. Start by taking everything out of your spice drawer. Check the expiry dates and look for any warning signs mentioned above. Discard any expired spices as well as those that are no longer fresh. Re-organise your herbs and spices by returning them to a clean, tidy space in your pantry or drawer.