Spices are an integral part of an Indian household, and you will find them in abundance. And so, everyone who loves to cook with spices has one important question in common, i.e., Do spices go bad?? Do they ever expire?? After all, they’re dry, and they sit on the shelf for a long time, so you might think that they should last forever, but this is not the case for some spices. 

Spices do not go bad like milk or become rotten as the fresh produce does; in fact, spices just lose their fragrance & flavor over time. The cumin seeds that are on your shelf for two years will not kill you, but they will lose their essence; they will not have that strong aroma that you like in your dishes. Secondly, the spices will get rancid and disturb the molecular composition, making them devoid of essential nutrition. 

To maintain the freshness of spices, you need to extra precautions like:

  • Never buy spices in bulk. We Indians tend to buy spices in bulk as we think that we will not get quality spices after the season, but that is not true. You can buy quality products at Vasant Masala. 
  • Store the spices in air-tight containers, as too much airflow can reduce the quality of the spices and can diminish their freshness, flavor, and aroma.
  • Direct exposure to the sunlight can negatively affect the freshness of your spices, so store them in a darker place where they do not come directly in contact with excess heat or sunlight.
  • If possible, buy whole spices and roast & ground them at home as required; it will keep your spices fresh for a longer period.
  • Do not freeze the spices as it can harm the quality of the spices as they get exposed to moisture and lose all essential qualities, even faster than normal. Instead, store them at room temperature.

Also Read: Things you must do to maintain the freshness of your spices for a long time.

Now we know how to store spices to keep them fresh, but how do we know whether our spices are expired??

Well, here's how:

 You can start with the sniff taste to check the freshness of your spices. If you smell something pungent and distinct or even notice any fading in the spice color, it is a good enough indication that your spices have gone bad. And now make an informed decision, generally, the shelf like of spices is:

  • Salt: Indefinitely
  • Whole Spices: 3-4 years
  •  Ground Spices: 1-1.5 years
  • Leafy Herbs like Basil, Oregano, Rosemary: 1-2 years

All of us have a few jars of spices sitting on the shelf for probably a decade now, and we think it is time to let these spices go.

But what about those old spices? Are they truly a lost cause? Not necessarily. If the are spices that are not that old, you can definitely revive them; you give them a new life.

Here are two simple methods to revive your old spices:

  • A gentle toast in the pan can revive the flavors of the spices. Just roast the spices on medium heat until it gets noticeably more fragrant, then allow them to cool and place it in the jar.
  • Frying the spices in hot oil before cooking with them will also revive their flavor. You can take the spices like cumin or coriander and stir them in hot oil until they release their long-hidden aroma. Basically, you can use them for tempering.

Okay, so now you have tried every alternative to revive the spices, but even then they do not have any flavor or aroma; you better replace your spices. 

If you don't know where to begin with, check out this post: Quick guide to buying spices online

If you want to get 100% pure & authentic spices from an esteemed brand, Vasant Masala is the place for you. We’re committed to delivering pure and authentic Indian spices to our customers, since our inception in 1970. You can buy our products online from our Shop Online menu. Our spices are also available on Amazon, Flipkart, and at your nearest grocery store around the corner.