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Spice Storage & Handling

Spices & Flavors

Tips on Storing, Handling, and Cooking with Spice

Spices can be expensive, so it is best that you protect your investment and prolong their useful life. Tomarc's of Troy would like to offer a few helpful ideas for your consideration.

Storing Spice

Spices usually will have a long shelf life — in most cases up to two or three years, some even longer — obviously dependent on the spice itself. Whole spices have a much longer lifespan than ground spices, which are broken up and are more fragile. Whole spices, even a couple of years old, can deliver a potent flavor once cracked or ground.

Spices will rarely spoil; however, over time they will lose their strength. Old and weak spices will not deliver the same robust taste that you might be expecting when you add them to your recipes. In some cases, this could cause a waste of your cooking time and could even ruin the other ingredients of the dish. Therefore, it is best to buy smaller quantities that you use only on occasion.

Be smart when you store your spices. If nothing else, keep them cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. Heat, humidity, and bright light hasten the loss of flavor and fragrance of your investment. Although handy, storing spices above your stove, sink, dishwasher, or near a window is not recommended. Refrigerating or even freezing will prolong the life of rarely used items, but is not recommended for those that you constantly use, as repeated use could form condensation in the bottles due to temperature change. This would accelerate the loss of aroma and flavor.

If you worry about insects in your stored products like cereal or flour, then you should also be concerned with your spices. Spices are also subject to infestation by what are called "stored product" insects, especially during the hot periods of the summer. Periodic inspections are warranted, especially if freshness is an essential part of your meal planning.

If you are not sure of freshness, simply use three of your senses, namely SIGHT, SMELL, and TASTE. Ask yourself, has the color faded? Is there a strong aroma? And is the flavor strong and apparent? Your individual tastes will dictate whether you use it or not.

Cooking with Spice

When cooking with spices, do not pour directly from the bottle onto the food that is on the stove, in the oven, or on the grill, as this could allow moisture to enter the bottle and cause caking and probably some flavor loss for future use. Introduce the spice by using your hand, fingers, or alternate utensil and sprinkle accordingly. Also, when the spice is not in use, always keep the container caps and spout lids completely closed tight.

The "Kitchen Kick'n" line of spice blends has been developed for use in a wide range of applications, in hopes that they will not age in your spice rack. For best results, use our blends within a year or two of purchase.

I bought the STEAK'N KICK a few weeks ago at the Ballard School Show, used it on some steaks on the grill that night, and my family went BALLISTIC over the great taste. You've got a tremendous product there.
 — K.G.,
Glens Falls, NY