Did You Know that Spices Expire?

It’s true!  I didn’t find this out until much, much too late.  Meaning that, of course, I had spent years using expired spices in my meals.  Yech!

None of us have gotten sick due to my negligence, I am happy to report.  But my meals did not taste any better because of them, I can assure you of that.

When I had my first apartment by myself, I did whatever I could to save money while stocking up my kitchen with tools and essentials.  What that really means is that I spent weekend after weekend at yard sales, scavenging people’s throw-aways for hidden treasures.  And you know, I did pretty well.  Found some nice pots and pans and cooking utensils that had been barely used, for pennies on the dollar.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. – Hector Urquhart

I went to an estate sale in an upscale town one Saturday morning and hit the jackpot.  The home had been occupied by an older woman who had just passed away the month before, and her kids were selling everything.  Including all the spices from her spice rack.  And so, I bought them all.  Buying 20 different spices at the estate sale = $5.  Buying 20 different spices at the grocery store = $100.  $95 is a lot of money to a 20 year old.  You know, it’s still a lot of money to me now!

Well, as the story goes, you get what you pay for.  The spices ended up being expired.  And I didn’t find out for years.  Yup, years.

The good news is that expired spices cannot make you ill, like expired chicken, for instance.  (Did you just gag a little when you read that?  I did when I wrote it!)  Expired spices lose their flavor.  Quite a bit.  So your dish will not only be lacking in the flavor you’re looking for, but may also have a strange taste to them.  Something a bit…..off.

So, next time you’re cleaning out your kitchen, check your spice drawer.  Might be time to invest a little money in some fresh, fragrant, delicious spices!

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