Quick Ditch – the Expired Spices

Ahhh spices…. We all have a cupboard or spice rack with plenty of herbs and spices we don’t even use, perhaps have never even heard of. Then we wonder, ‘what on earth did we buy this one for?’ Once upon a time, you were probably trying some fabulous new recipe, but perhaps NEVER attempted that fabulous recipe EVER, ever again. Miraculously, five years have passed and you kept that spice “just in case” you needed it. Well, I got news for you – it’s expired! Dump it. It’s just taking up room in your life.

I have a little information to help you decide what you should consider cleaning out of your spices supply.
There are rules to deciding what stays and what goes:
*Ground Spices last 2-3 years, whole spices can last 4 years
*Herbs will give you 1-3 years
*Seeds are good for 2-4 years
*Spice Blends, Seasoning mixes, Gravy mixes & Marinades are all good for 1-2 years.

You can follow the rules above or take it in your own hands by following these bits of advice:
*Is the color still vibrant? If color has faded, chances are, so has the flavor.
*Rub or crush any questionable spice in your hand. If there is a week fragrance & flavor is not apparent, it’s time to replace it!
*Check the expiry date!!! I know that sounds obvious, but not all have a date and MOST of us don’t even think to look for an expiry on the jar of a particular spice. However, if you have put it into an alternate jar, which would NOT have an expiry date, you will have to do the “rub/color/fragrance test”.

Spices DO lose their oils and flavor, relatively quickly. Here are a few ways to get the MOST out of yours:
*Try and keep them away from heat.
*Keep them out of direct sunlight.
*Don’t pour or sprinkle them directly over a steaming pot or pan.

I’ve been trying to educate myself on this topic and I don’t think all advice out there is correct. Here’s a little bit of BAD advice I shall pass on to you. 😉
*At the end of the day, if any have expired, they will most likely NOT make you sick.
*If the spice has expired you will just have to use more. My thoughts on that one is…how much more??!! The amount is in question, so if you are using a recipe, you will have no clue how much more you should use.

Here are a few pictures of items to make your life easier in the spice cupboard.
Spice Rack attached in cupboard door Turntable-style spice rackOrganizing January 2014 025 Organizing January 2014 026 Organizing January 2014 027 Organizing January 2014 019

These are all great ideas for organizing your spices. The last one is nice because it has a handle. You can take it out of wherever you store it, and have it at an arms-length away while cooking, then put it away very simply, when you are done. No fuss, no muss! 🙂

I recommend you take a little garbage bag this week and stand in the kitchen(assuming that IS where you keep the spices). Take out ALLLL your spices and put them on the counter. Take a few minutes and dump the ones which have expired, possibly expired, are flavorless, odorless, and of course, the ones to which you don’t even know the name. You will be left with what you need on a daily basis and a lot less clutter. If you need to replace a couple, wait a few weeks and see if it is a spice you really need, and use. You may find you don’t need as many spices as you thought. You will be so much happier when this job is done and it will probably only take you 10-15 minutes. NIIIIIIICE!!!!

Remember, you can always call me for help. 😀
Thanks for tuning in.

Professional Organizer


  1. Hey Tanya
    After reading this I realized that I must have a ton of expired spices!!!
    I like the spice tower, it looks like a great space saver!
    Thanks for the tips


Leave a Reply