The World's Healthiest Foods

Taking Care of Your Spices and Seasonings

Have you ever wondered how long the salt and pepper have been sitting in those salt and pepper shakers in the corner restaurant? Like all of the World's Healthiest Foods, salt, pepper, and the wide variety of spices and seasonings found in our recipes need careful handling, storage, and use. Many of our recipes call for freshly cut herbs, and you will want to use the same principles for handling and storing these herbs as you would for any fresh vegetable. When you use dried spices and seasonings, however, the following tips may be helpful.

  • Do not store your dried spices and seasonings above the stove, or near a source of heat or moisture. Even though they have been dried, spices and seasonings are heat sensitive. And with exposure to steam from a teapot or pot of water on simmer, there is increased risk of bacterial or fungal contamination of your spices and seasonings as well.
  • Don't keep your spices and seasongs forever; replace them at intervals of 6 months to 1 year, depending on the particular spice or seasoning. Seeds like mustard seeds or dill seeds are better at retaining their nutrients than leaves like bay leaves.
  • Buy spices and seasonings from the bulk section of your grocery in small amounts, purchasing only what you will need over the next month. Replenish your supplies more frequently to keep your supplies as fresh as possible.
  • Use your sense of smell to evaluate the condition of your spices and seasonings. Periodically compare the aroma of your spices and seasonings to their aroma at the time of purchase. If the fullness and richness has been lost, replace the spice or seasoning with a full-aroma equivalent.
  • Don't treat your spices and seasonings like material possessions that are part of your kitchen woodwork!

Remember that the dried contents of your spice containers were living plants, rich in nutrients, and just as important as your staple foods in providing you with the World's Healthiest Diet!

This page was updated on: 2004-11-18 22:03:36
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation