I have received a lot of inquiries as to where I get various ingredients, particularly spices. I am committed to sharing my sources with you, particularly for hard to find items. My new favorite source for spices is The Savory Spice Shop. This spice source has a lot of great things going for it:
- Both online and brick and mortar locations, with a store located just a couple miles from my home. Yay me!
- They carry everything. If you can't find what you need at your grocery store, chances are SSS will have it.
- Great quality and good prices. Better prices than grocery stores in my opinion.
- You can buy spices in any quantity you want. I really like the ability to buy small quantities for the less frequently used spices, as I hate to have unused product that goes to waste or becomes too old to use. SSS is also great when you are making something in large batches. I recently bought large quantities of a variety of spices to make a rub for holiday gifts.
- SSS refill your containers and give you a discount for not requiring another bottle.
Tip for keeping track of the age of your spices
Ever wonder how old that dried sage or bottle of juniper berries is in your spice cupboard? While most spices can be used for several years, they tend to lose potency over time. When you purchase your spices, write the date on the spice bottle or package, while you are still in the store.
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Where to store your spices
You want to protect your spices from air, heat, light and moisture. Use tightly sealed glass jars, away from the stove, and store them in a dark cupboard. Do not freeze spices. They will just get freezer burn and take on moisture overtime.
How old is too old?
Spices last a surprisingly long time. Dried herbs and ground spices will lose their potency faster than whole spices. As a general rule of thumb:
- Dried herbs 1-2 years
- Ground spices 2-3 years
- Whole spices 3-4 years and longer
In the end, your nose knows. If you can't smell the spice, it has probably lost its potency, and you are better off tossing it. If the spice still has some aroma, you can compensate for an older spice by using more of it than your recipe calls for. Let your taste buds be your guide.