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Storing Spices in the Fridge or Freezer

KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 12:35 PM

I have a few spice that I don't use that often, but I sure can't afford to replace when I do use them once or twice a year. I keep them in the fridge so they stay 'fresh' longer. Am I wasting space? Keep in mind that my kitchen is usually about 80 degrees year round.

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  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 02:16 PM

    < Keep in mind that my kitchen is usually about 80 degrees year round.>

    Oh my god. You should put yourself in the refrigerator. :)

    Can I ask what kind of spice you have? Obviously, colder temperature can stabilize the spice better. However, if you store whole spice, then I really don't see a big problem. Whole spices as in these:


    As for storing spices in the freezer and refrigerator, the colder temperature will help. However, water also tend to condense in many freezers and refrigerators which can be a problem.

    1. LMAshton RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 07:25 PM

      Not wasting space. It's a wise move.

      I'm in Singapore - tropical climate. Before here, I was in Sri Lanka, another tropical climate. Some spices just had to be kept in the fridge or they'd go moldy in a month or two. Red chilli pepper flakes, cumin, coriander were at the top of that list.

      1. KaimukiMan RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 07:52 PM

        Honolulu has beautiful weather, and I really don't need the AC most of the time, but it is in the upper upper 70's and low 80's all year during the day. I don't have a lot of fancy spices, and almost all of them are ground in the bottle from the supermarket. OK OK. Pick yourself up off the floor, it's what is available. Ordering from Penzy's and paying for shipping just isn't in my budget, and if it was I would definitely keep them on ice.

        I've got curry powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper (whole and ground), garlic powder, montreal steak seasoning, montreal chicken seasoning, no-salt seasoning mix. For herbs i've got parsley, thyme, marjoram, oregano, bay leaves, italian herb mix.

        Salt isn't an issue, and I almost exclusively use plain Hawaiian sea salt, but I usually have some pink as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KaimukiMan
          Chemicalkinetics RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 08:06 PM

          <almost all of them are ground in the bottle from the supermarket. OK OK. Pick yourself up off the floor, it's what is available. Ordering from Penzy's and paying for shipping just isn't in my budget,>

          I wasn't making fun of you or anything. In fact, I bought my whole spices from my local Indian stores, and you can find them in Chinese stores too. Their prices are much cheaper than those from typical supermarkets. I can buy a big bag of whole cumin seed or whole coriander seeds for $5, while I need to pay more than twice for a tiny McCormick bottle. Pound of pound, the supermarket McCormick costs at least 20 times more. So if you ever have an Indian or Pakistan store nearby, grab some.

          If you put your spices in the refrigerator, then make sure you seal them. If you have condensation in your refrigerator, then the water can make ruin the spices. Water ruins spices more so than temperature.

        2. k
          kitchendeeva RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 08:05 PM

          When I first started ordering from Penzeys many years ago, they recommended freezer storage for your main pkg of spices and keeping a smaller amount out for every day use. I have done that for years with great success. We are now fortunate to have a Penzey's in our town, so I don't have to order via mail, but I still tend to buy the things I use most often in larger quantities and keep them in the freezer

          1 Reply
          1. re: kitchendeeva
            MsMaryMc RE: kitchendeeva May 8, 2013 02:03 PM

            Same here. I keep a small supply in a spice rack on the inside of my pantry door. But the store where I buy them has a 1 oz. minimum for pure spices and 2 oz. for blends, so the rest goes in the freezer until I need it.

          2. KarenDW RE: KaimukiMan May 7, 2013 08:16 PM

            If you had a wine cooler, then you could put the spices in there :) But fridge sounds good to me. Cooler temps slow down oxidation. If you choose to store those "annual use" spices in the freezer, I would overwrap the package with a double layer of ziplock bag or something, to reduce condensation on the actual product.

            1. p
              pitterpatter RE: KaimukiMan May 10, 2013 08:40 AM

              I usually buy whole spices in 1/4 pound quantities and keep them in Ball jars, with no worry about loss of flavor. I buy saffron by the ounce, and keep that in the freezer, as well as lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, with no problem whatsoever. My saffron is still good after two years. My refrigerator is too crowded with condiments and the like to harbor my spices, except for fresh ginger and turmeric. As I am fortunate to have Asian grocery stores nearby, I don't worry about spices becoming old. The only concern I have is bugs like them, especially the dried peppers, which is why the Ball jars are so important.

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