Some people do “spring cleaning” of their houses and clothing, but many people ignore their cabinets in the kitchen. I had some time off work recently due to the holidays. While I was cooking, I realized that I had some seasonings that were never opened and some that I rarely used. I then decided to search online to see how long spices are good for.
I found out that it is recommended to replace spices after a year. While spices do not technically go bad they do lose their taste and aroma. The reason I use spices is to add taste or aroma to my dishes, so without those, they are really serving no purpose.
I took everything out of my spice cabinets and categorized them as spices that I have never used, spices I rarely used and spices I use all the time.
For the spices that I have never used, I searched on them for an expiration date or a "made by" date. I then found some places online that advised me on how to read the codes on the bottom of the bottles:
If they were expired, I trashed them. I put the ones that were not expired into a pile to donate to a food pantry. For the spices I rarely use, I had to decide if I was going to use them again before they expire. For the ones I kept, I looked up recipes that use those spices. I should really try to use the ones that I rarely use more often so I do not throw away expensive seasonings when they expire. I also wrote the expiration dates directly on the bottles.
After I cleared out my spices, I made a list of what I had and the expiration dates of everything. I put this in a plastic sleeve and I stuck it on the inside of my cabinet. This allows me to know what I have at a glance and their expiration dates. If something gets near its expiration date, I know to look for a deal or coupon on it. It also keeps me from being tempted to stock up on spices when there is a sale if I already have it. It’s not such a deal if it ends up in the trash unused since it expired before I could use it!
How do you keep track of spices and other items in your cabinets?