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Dec 10, 2007 10:21 PM

Herbs and Spices Shelf Life

I've decided to replenish my herbs and spices and start anew. I will be heading to The Spice House this week and have attempted to find a chart of sorts that lists the expected shelf life of various items. But I've been unsuccessful thus far. I anticipate that I'll probably purchase around forty items. I have been mindful about portions and gleaned a lot from previous threads. However, nothing of this nature has been created. I'd appreciate any information you have.

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  1. gabby, I order most of my herbs and spices from The Spice House's Chicago store. (A couple of items, I like more from Dean & DeLuca--e.g., their Herbes de Provence and whole nutmegs--but nearly everything comes from TSH.)

    TSH's catalog suggests replacing most unused items once a year. Most will last longer, but quality may have deteriorated. The catalog says also that *they* purchase most of the inventory once a year, and there is no point for the customer to replenish it more often if the objective is fresher merchandise.

    I order about once a month, though, since I figure their storage conditions are more regulated than mine, and because of my own herb-keeping space restrictions (I keep most in the freezer, so I order what I think I'll use that month).

    Here's a link to THS' website, with FAQs, including re shelf-life.

    I envy you for being close enough to visit them. I love The Spice House's merchandise and its customer service for those of us far away.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MaggieRSN

      Thank you! I have been trying to get my spice list together so I can stop by. I am within walking distance and I never shopped their before. What are your favorites or hidden gems you might suggest?

    2. From the McCormick's site. Doesn't make it clear if they mean open or unopened.

      1. If you have a foodsaver or other vacuum device, I strongly suggest storing your spices and herbs in ball jars. Open just before you need them, and reseal immediately afterwards. For frequently used items, like garlic powder, keep a little shaker jar about 1/8 full, and refresh when needed. I've found that with this method, herbs and spices have virtually no limitation on shelf life. Even Vanilla beans last a long time but I add a slice of apple to add moisture ot the jar to keep them soft.