Q.: I purchase some spices in bulk to gear up for winter and canning in the summer. One particular spice is Mexican Chili Spice. It is a blend of several different chili peppers and is wonderful for making chili and especially for canning salsa. My recent purchase of this wonderful spice was about 2˝ pounds. I’ve placed it in a zip bag and in another zip bag. What is the best way to keep the spice as fresh as possible, for as long as possible? This spice is hard to come by, and I always need to order it, which is one reason why I stockpile it.
– B.B., Suffield
A.: Buying spices in such large quantities is always a bit risky because their flavors tend to go flat before they get used. Spices rarely go bad, but their flavors will lose their oomph after a while.
The secret to keeping them fresh is to store them in a cool, dry place. Your double-bagging will help. Store them in a cupboard away from your stove. Large glass jars also work well for storing large quantities of spices like you have on hand.
The average shelf-life for dried, ground spices is two years.
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