Where you store your spices makes a big difference in how long they last and how fresh they are. It’s tempting to make the decision based on esthetics – where they look best. They might look great in matching bottles on your countertop, or maybe even in a uber drawer organizer. Maybe you've even continued grandma's tradition of tucking your spices away in the freezer assuming that they would last longer.
It's time to rethink your storage methods to extend the life and flavor of your spices. Proper storage is critical to the lifespan and freshness of spices!
The Problem with Common Spice Storage Spots
Spice Storage Above the Stove:
The most obvious and convenient place is above the stove. Listen up, this is probably the worst spot for your poor spices. Many spices, chiles and herbs lose flavor way faster when exposed to heat because their natural oils – the good stuff - dry out.
Another issue is that the steam emitted during cooking can adversely affect spices and herbs that are not in a perfectly air-tight container, damaging the integrity of your spices.
Spice Storage on the Counter:
Though a spice rack on the counter is pretty, it’s not a great idea unfortunately. The biggest issue with countertop storage is that the spices will be exposed to direct sunlight at some point in the day. Since spices and herbs are photosensitive, they will break down and dry out when exposed to direct light.
Spice Storage in the Freezer:
How about keeping them in the fridge or freezer? The issue here is the condensation that will occur as the spices adjust to the temperature every time you take your spices in and out of cold storage. If the container you’re storing them in isn’t airtight, your spices will absorb the smells in your fridge. Yuck!
Spice Storage on the Fridge:
Magnetic spice boards make for great Instagram pics. But they are not such a good idea, unless they are positioned somewhere that the sun can't find them. As you know by now, sunlight is a no no when it comes to spice storage.
Here’s the Secret to Spice Storage
Store your herbs and spices in a cool, dry place. The best temperature is room temperature. As you now know, store your spices away from any direct sources of heat and light. Pantries and drawers are good spots for spice storage because they are dark, away from heat and dry – the trifecta of good spice storage!