How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Spices And Herbs.

Watkins Cinnamon Spiced Chicken Dried herbs and spices add a lot of flavor to your meals without adding additional fat or calories. They are readily available and ultra convenient to use. Different combinations provide a variety of tastes you can use to add ethnic flair from around the world to your menu, without ever having to leave your own kitchen. Not only do spices and herbs delight your taste buds they may also carry health benefits as well. Preserving the quality, freshness and flavor of your seasonings will result in better tasting dishes, more of the associated health benefits and save you money.

What are culinary herbs and spices? Herbs are usually the green, leafy part of aromatic plants grown for culinary use. Spices are the edible seeds, berries, bark, roots, or other parts of the plants. As a general rule when you are cooking, spices should be added to the dish at the beginning so their flavors will meld and blend into the dish. Add herbs near the end of cooking process to retain the most flavor and color.

Herb And Spice Storage Tips

Watkins Parsley in a tin The shelf live of dried spices and herbs varies, spices generally keep longer than herbs do. Good quality herbs will stay fresh for about one year or so when stored properly. Good quality ground spices will keep for several years and whole spices will keep much longer when stored carefully. Heat, light, moisture and air are their enemies, therefore exposing them to these elements will greatly reduce their quality, color, flavor and essential oil content.

Purchase high quality dried herbs and spices in small quantities so that you can easily use them up in reasonable period of time. Store your spices and herbs in tightly sealed containers, in a cool, dark place. Keeping their containers tightly closed will protect them from moisture and oxidation. They will retain more of their essential oil content and flavor when stored in glass jars or metal tins. Tins are best as they protect herbs and spices from the light. Direct light will fade the color and reduce the quality of your seasonings so store them in a dark cupboard not out in a spice rack. Also try not to store them above your stove or near other heat sources as heat will degrade the quality as well.

When Should I Replace My Herbs And Spices?

Watkins All-Spice Early fall is a good time of year to go through your cupboard, restock low quantities and replace any herbs and spices that you've had for too long. This way you'll have a fresh supply of your favorites readily available for your holiday cooking and baking needs. Open each container and check to see if the color looks faded. Do the sniff test, or taste a small amount, does it still have plenty of aroma and taste? If not replace it and the ones that are several years old with new. Write the purchased date on the bottom of the container with a felt tip marker, so you can easily keep track of how old they are.

Various spices and herbs contain nutrients and phytochemicals which carry health benefits. Purchase a good quality brand like Watkins for the highest essential oil and nutrient content as well as better flavor. Using a superior quality will also increase the health benefits and actually save you money in the long run, because you'll need to use less to achieve the right flavor. You can learn more about:

Where to Find the Best Quality Herbs and Spices?

You can shop for Watkins herbs and spices in our safe, secure Watkins store or request your free Watkins full product catalog and order by mail or phone.

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