Do Spices Have An Expiry Date? Know Their Shelf Life And Tips To Make Spices Last Longer

Spices can be used for years if kept under right conditions and measures. Here is the shelf life of different spices and tips to increase shelf life.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Sep 01, 2021Updated at: Sep 01, 2021
Do Spices Have An Expiry Date? Know Their Shelf Life And Tips To Make Spices Last Longer

Spices are essential ingredient for any Indian dish; one cannot imagine having some Indian cuisines without a blend of delicious spices put together in it. People believe that spices never grow old until moisture catches them, hence they can be used for long terms without worrying about your health. But at the same time it is also said that spices should be kept in small quantities to avoid seasoning and getting affected. This constant trouble of keeping up with the truth of shelf life of spices should end. Hence today, we will inform you about what is the shelf life of spices and do they actually expire after a particular period. 

Do Spices Expire?

Clinical Nutritionist Ms. Bisman Kaur from APJ Hospital, Chandigarh explains about the life of spices. She says that expiry or life of spices depends on the conditions and place it has been kept. Spices can expire if they are kept at wrong temperature in unfavourable conditions due to which they get exploited by the moisture. Raw spices can be preserved for long periods, almost few years without worrying about the taste and nutrition value, whereas packed spices needs to be consumed a bit early that that. This is because spices that are available in powdered form or are packed have some added chemicals to increase texture and flavour of the spice. This makes them vulnerable of getting spoiled. Apart from that if kept in air tight containers with right temperature, spices can last for number of years. 


Shelf Life Of Different Spices

Every spice has its own shelf life. Depending on the category they fall in, their shelf life differs. Here are few examples for different spices and their shelf life-

Dried herbs that last 1-3 years

  • Basil 
  • Oregano 
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Mint
  • Rosemary etc. 

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Ground Spices and Powdered Spices (2-3 Years)

Spices that are found in ground or powdered form lasting 2-3 years. These contain ginger powder, ground cinnamon, chilli powder, turmeric powder, seasonal blends, ground cardamom garlic powder, etc. These spices have one of the longest shelf life among all the spices that are used in maximum quantity. They retain aromatic oils which add real flavour to the spices. 


Whole Spices (4 years)

  • Coriander
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard seeds 
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole dried chilli
  • Lemongrass

Salt also comes under whole spices, however it is an exception as it can used more indefinite period until it gets seasoned. It does not lose its flavour and potency over time. Hence it can be said to have the longest shelf life. 

Also Read- Importance of Vitamins & Proteins In Diet: Know their Sources

How to Determine Expiry of Spices?

If you have noticed, every spice has a expiry date written on the back of the packing. This is to ensure that the spice is well consumed before that period. However, it does not necessary mean that the spice is expired after that period. Expiry date of a spice is given keeping in mind the best flavour it can provide in the given period of time. 

Dried herbs do not expire for a long time in adequate conditions. But in most cases, people keep spices in open or containers are not air-tight to prevent seasoning. Hence it is important to keep an expiry date to prevent health problems. 

  • A spice can be said to be expired when it loses its flavour, potency and colour.
  • Having a expired spices in unlikely to make you sick but prevention is always better
  • If a dried spice catches moisture
  • If it gets mixed with another spice or product
  • When spice is kept with another strong spice
  • If the spice has added chemicals which lose its colour with time
  • You are not getting proper flavour of spice 
  • The scent of the spice becomes weak or it loses its scent.


Tips to Increase Shelf Life Of Spices

Here are some tips given by nutritionist Ms. Bisman Kaur to increase shelf life of your spices-

  1. Minimize exposure of air, heat and light inside the container
  2. Prevent it from getting moisture
  3. Keep the containers containing spices in cool atmosphere
  4. Store in a dry environment and keep the spices away from other food items
  5. Position the spices away from the stove or oven, and other items which radiate heat. 
  6. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed after closing it.
  7. Use glass or ceramic containers to keep the taste and flavour of the spice intact.
  8. Do not store a spice where another spice was kept as it can ruin the texture and taste of the spice.
  9. Always put dry and clean spoon while taking out the spices from the containers
  10. Put only stainless steel or ceramic spoons for ideal taste

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