Here's what you should do with your old spices

Here's what you should do with your old spices

Often the pantry is filled with old dry mustard powder and paprika of doubtful age and origin. And while you may think that it is time to turn it into compost, think again! They might still have some uses around the house. 

Spices and herbs change phase states easily and once a spice is harvested, the clock begins ticking as the compounds turn from liquid to gas, reports Popular Science. After a spice is created, it loses much of its potency in a year, and by three years, it needs to be replaced. 

However, it does not necessarily mean that old spices should always be discarded. Adding heat can transform the product, enhancing its smell and taste. 

Try throwing spices about a year or so old on the grill or in a dry pan right before using them. It is a key to capturing the flavours of some cuisines. Before using them, toast them to see if they are still alive. One could also infuse oils. Infusions draw the compounds out of a spice or herb.

Seal the spices in oil for two to six weeks and then filter out the solid matter. Grind them before adding it to oil and put the jar with your oil in a simmering water bath for a few minutes as adding heat helps. For personal care or crafting supplies, use shelf-stable oil like jojoba. For cooking, use an oil you like to eat. 

Furthermore, spices are a useful weapon against bad smells if you don’t have time to get rid of the underlying causes. If you are cooking something pungent in the kitchen, clear it out afterwards by boiling some oil spices in water. Volatile compounds have a low boiling point, so large amounts of old, bland spices will have a surprising amount of smell to them. Afterward, drain the water and put them out to compost. 

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