Friends, I recently got brave and organized my spice cabinet. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming I needed to take inventory what spices I need to replace. There were spices in there that I have had for years. In order to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to purge I did some investigation. Here are the shelf life guidelines that I found.

*Ground Spices - 2 to 3 years *Whole Spices - 3 to 4 years *Seasoning Blends - 1 to 2 years *Herbs - 1 to 3 years *Extracts - 1 to 3 years, except for pure vanilla which lasts indefinitely.

Friends, I recently got brave and organized my spice cabinet. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming I needed to take inventory what spices I need to replace. There were spices in there that I have had for years. In order to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to purge I did some investigation. Here are the shelf life guidelines that I found.

*Ground Spices - 2 to 3 years *Whole Spices - 3 to 4 years *Seasoning Blends - 1 to 2 years *Herbs - 1 to 3 years *Extracts - 1 to 3 years, except for pure vanilla which lasts indefinitely.

When you go to replace them call places like CVS, Walgreen's and The Dollar Tree. They oftentimes carry the spices and extracts you are looking for. They usually have their spices for under a dollar. You will save yourself a lot of money if you do. If you are making a recipe with an unusual spice Whole Foods has a bulk Spice & Herb Section in The Whole Body Department. You can measure out exactly what you need for a recipe. This way you won't be paying for the entire bottle. If there are certain spices you go through quickly shop Sam's Club, Costco and GFS. Buying spices & herbs in the large bottles is economical in the long run if you tend to go through them quickly.

If you are unsure of how long you have had a spice, check the aroma. Rub or crush the herb or spice in your hand. If the aroma is weak and flavor is not apparent then it is time to replace it. Spices and herbs such as sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, ginger and cloves are the mainstay of the holiday menu. The last thing you want is for your stuffing or pies not to be up to par because of weak seasonings. Needless to say I threw away quite a few of the spices I seldom use. I hope this information is useful to you. For now happy shopping!

Laurie, TheBag Lady