- Light exposure causes ingredients, especially pigmented spices (e.g., red chili powders, green herbs like basil and parsley), to deteriorate over time.
- Heat, like light, causes ingredients to deteriorate.
- Oxygen will cause the natural essential oils in the spices to oxidize, diminishing their flavor and potency.
- Moisture, such as humidity, promotes mold growth, and can also lead to flavor loss faster.
Pick the Right Container
- Glass mason jars with twist tops are a smart choice because the cover can seal tightly, preventing oxygen from sneaking back in. Plastic containers can also perform this function.
- Tin is another option if you don’t have a dark place to store your spices and herbs. The tin will prevent light from penetrating your ingredients.
- Amber glass is another good option if you choose to keep your spices out of a cabinet. You’ll get the sturdy glass seal while preventing light from affecting the substance.
Find a Good Storage Spot
As beautiful as spices and herbs may look on the counter in your kitchen, this isn’t an ideal environment for storage. The temperature in your kitchen fluctuates easily with the oven and stove. The opening of windows and changing of lights can spoil your spices and herbs faster, too.
Finding a dark space is the first step in how to store herbs. A cabinet or drawer is a great place because light rarely sneaks in.
It’s important to consider the humidity of these spaces, too. That’s why you should dedicate a cabinet or drawer to your spices so they’re away from other substances that can have an effect on your supply. Your refrigerator sounds like an ideal spot, but there is a lot of moisture and changes in temperature when the door is opened and closed.
If you don’t have the luxury of space, a storage rack can be installed to help keep spices and herbs separated from the other cabinet items.
Storing spices in a freezer is an option you can try. However, be aware of the large fluctuation in temperature that can occur. If you choose to store spices in the freezer be cognizant of the time you have it out of the cold and put them back in the freezer as soon as possible.
Even sprinkling herbs and spices directly out of the container and into a steaming pot can cause a big enough swing in temperature to affect the longevity of your ingredients. The steam from the pot also adds moisture into your ingredient container. Always sprinkle the spices into your palm or measuring spoon before adding it to your delicious creation on the stove.