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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 latest favorite source for spices is Penzey's where I can order a great range and quality of spices online. They also provide options for a range of sizes, which I find very helpful. I can order larger quantities of dried oregano that I use constantly and smaller quantities of things like fennel seeds, that I use less often. I also am a  big fan of Trader Joe's spices. Their inventory selection is limited, but their prices can't be beat.

Click to download our free e-cookbook: 15 Recipes To Make You Look Like A Star

Another way I like to shop for spices, at least pre-pandemic, is by shopping at ethnic grocery stores. Typically their selection and prices are much better than standard grocery stores.

The Best 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. You will never have to wonder again.

Where to Store Your Spices

You want to protect your spices from air, heat, light and moisture. Keep dried herbs and spices in tightly sealed glass jars. Store away from the stove, and preferably 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.

Keep in Alphabetical Order

The best way to insure you know what spices you have and can find them when you need them is to keep them in alphabetical order. Spices | Something New For Dinner I store mine in a drawer with their labels up and organized alphabetically. Not only is this handy when I am cooking and need to reach for a particular spice, but when I am menu planning it allows me to quickly identify whether I already have a particular spice. Trust me, a little organization will save you time, money and duplications.

More Tips and Tricks for Organizing Your Kitchen

Check out this link for more tips on how to organize your kitchen. It is an article I contributed to on Redfin that includes several ways to better organize your kitchen.

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