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Do Spices go bad?

I got a bunch of different spices from a friend (along with some other canned goods and things) because she is moving and did not want to pack it all up.

Well, I can't seem to find any expiration dates on the spice bottles...they are simply things like Lemon Pepper, Seasoning Salt, etc.

So my question is, do spices go bad? Can I still use them?


Asked by CarolynBarnett at 3:54 PM on Apr. 14, 2009 in Food & Drink

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This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Spices do not go bad in the sense of becoming rancid or spoiled, but they do lose potency and complex layers of flavor. When spices lose their power, they should be discarded and replaced with fresh ones.

    Whole spices will keep the longest, because they have not been cracked or ground, exposing the volatile compounds which make up their flavor to the air. They can last up to four years in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, and well keep even better in the dark.

    Ground spices have a shorter shelf life, usually between two and three years. They should also be stored in a cool, dry place in airtight containers. To determine whether or not ground spices are still usable, gently shake the container with the cap on. Remove the cap after a moment and smell the container, to see if the rich smell of the spice is still present.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 5:18 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • I don't think they do...I would use them.

    Answer by avpriddis at 3:59 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • No. As long as they were kept in a sealed container and in a cool dry place, they will last indefinitely! I have some special spices, that I use annually for special holiday meals, and they taste just as fresh as when I first bought them.

    I usually mix fresh and dried spices in my recipes. Many spices will "awaken" when added to sauces, stews, and meat/poultry/fish "juices."

    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:02 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • no not really.. i just shackm up really good before i use them.. i cant tell ya when the last time i bought some.. LOL

    Answer by HottMamaRossx2 at 4:08 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • some expire within a year of opening. Replace your spices almost as often as you would your flour and sugar, unless it is something you use very often figure 6 months to a year after opening.

    Answer by TheRaenonu at 4:32 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • They don't go bad but they do lose their flavor. If they are older than about 6 months old, I would just toss them and buy new ones.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 5:14 PM on Apr. 14, 2009

  • Thank you for your help ladies :)

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 8:52 PM on Apr. 14, 2009