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Herbs and Spices Shelf Life

gabby29 Dec 10, 2007 10:21 PM

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. m
    MaggieRSN RE: gabby29 Dec 11, 2007 12:22 AM

    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
      gabby29 RE: MaggieRSN Dec 11, 2007 05:11 PM

      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. s
      Shayna Madel RE: gabby29 Dec 12, 2007 04:41 PM

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


      1. UnConundrum RE: gabby29 Dec 12, 2007 04:49 PM

        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.

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