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Frequently Asked Questions

Herbs and spices are aromatic natural products that are used to flavor food. Spices are the dried seeds, buds, fruit or flower parts, bark, or roots of plants, usually of tropical origin. Herbs are the leaves and sometimes the flowers of plants, usually grown in a climate similar to the Mediterranean.
There are three ways to determine whether herbs and spices are fresh: appearance, smell, and taste. Visually, you can check your herbs and spices to make sure that their color has not faded. Loss of color is an indication of flavor loss. A fragrant, intense aroma is a characteristic of fresh herbs and spices. Crush the herbs and spices in your hand. If you do not smell the aroma, or if you taste them and the flavor is not apparent, it's time to replace your herbs and spices.
Herbs and spices do not spoil, but they do lose their strength. Old seasonings will not flavor your meals the way they are intended to.
Herbs and spices should be stored in airtight bottles, away from the exposure to heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These elements hasten the loss of flavor and aroma of herbs and spices. Avoid storing your herbs and spices over the stove, dishwasher, sinks, or near a window. Members of the red pepper family (capsicums), such as paprika and chili powder, should be refrigerated to help retain color and guard against infestation. This is important especially during the summer months and in particularly hot climates.
The shelf life of properly stored herbs and spices is approximately 3-4 years for whole spices and seeds, 2-3 years for ground spices, 1-3 years for leafy herbs, and 1-2 years for seasoning blends.
Replace the lid on bottles right after use. Measure seasonings in a bowl, then add seasonings to the pot. Do not sprinkle herbs and spices directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam introduced into a bottle will hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Steam will also result in caking. Make sure the measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip into the spice bottle. The added moisture may cause caking or flavor loss.

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