Yes, herbs and spices expire, which is annoying because how many bottles do you have in your cabinet that are full but for the teaspoon you used last year?
Pull everything from your cabinet and check those dates. If it’s just expired, is it something that you can use up in the next couple of months? No? Toss it.
Most spices nowadays have expiration dates printed on their containers. If you can’t find an expiration date, can you remember purchasing the herb or spice? No? Chances are that it is really old.
Old herbs and spices aren’t as potent or flavorful. I found a four-year-expired jar of nutmeg that lacked the strong smell I associate with this spice. You could use old spices that aren’t clumpy, but they probably won’t do much for flavoring your food.
However, just because you are tossing that jar of lemon peel doesn’t mean that you need to add the item to your next shopping list.
Before you cook a recipe, check if you have the ingredients. If you are lacking a spice, look online for a substitute … or leave out an herb or spice from the recipe … or double up on something else that is listed on the recipe.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.