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Discarding outdated dried spices/herbs


jgm
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Twice a year, I go to the local spice store to renew the dried herbs and spices that I keep. They are available in bulk, and I try to not purchase more than I think I will use in the next 6 months.

When I get home, I empty the spice tins into the trash, so that they're ready for the fresher stuff. And for a few hours, or maybe a couple of days, we have wonderful-smelling trash!

I can't figure out what else to do with them. At 6 months, the flavor is beginning to wane, but the aroma is often still wonderful. I'd make little sachets out of them, and put them in drawers (which I sometimes do with dried lavender), but I really don't want undies that smell like chili powder or cardamom.

Anybody have any ideas for this miniscule problem? :laugh:

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Umm

plan "spice day" when you can have a big BBQ or something, then you came make a bbq rub and some herb dips and use em all up

t

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

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Simmer spice/s of choice on low heat in oil (butter, schmaltz, bacon fat, peanut oil, lard, olive oil, unrefined corn oil etc). Use the spiced oil in stir-fries, vinaigrettes or bbq sauce, brush on grilled vegetables, drizzle on rice or pasta etc. The oil will help extract and bloom whatever flavor is left in those old spices.

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Umm

plan "spice day" when you can have a big BBQ or something, then you came make a bbq rub and some herb dips and use em all up

t

more on the bbq theme...use them for smoke in the bbq...wrap in foil punch in a few holes and allow the smoke to season stuff.

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Are they really only good for 6 months? I've got herbs at the back of the cupboard I'm sure have been there since the Clinton era (first one). They still smell OK, are they not good to use? Further, are they in fact dangerous to use? Could they make you sick? (I used some years-old allspice cloves in a blackberry syrup last night and lived to tell about it. So far...)

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I don't think they could make you sick; there is an issue of mold growing on some out-of-date flour-based mixes (pancake mix, etc.), but I've never heard of it with herbs and spices. Worst case scenario, the oils in some of them could become rancid.

They do lose their power over time. Locally, we have a spice store and a couple of health food stores that stock dried and ground herbs and spices in bulk. You pick up a small ziploc bag, spoon as much of the stuff as you want in it, and label it. They weigh it at the check-out. I bought about 1/4 cup of 20 different herbs and spices for under 6 bucks.

As a rule of thumb, you should replace dried herbs and spices about once or twice a year.

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If I have old herbs and spices sometimes I add them to my homemade dog treats. Dogs like new tastes, and some herbs are said to provide healthy antioxidents.

They like rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon and star anise. Parsley helps to freshen their breath.

Dogs SHOULD NOT eat nutmeg, cinnamon or chili pepper.

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A friend once took my old spices and made pomade(sp?) balls to hang on her Christmas tree. She made a diamond design with glue on craft foam balls and pressed the spices into the glue. She let each part dry, then filled another diamond with glue, and another spice until she had the whole thing covered. she ground whole spices, but used cloves to outline the design. Very Martha...

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I sprinkle them around the edges of my deck and the ramp up to it, to keep the local feral cats away.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Are they really only good for 6 months? I've got herbs at the back of the cupboard I'm sure have been there since the Clinton era (first one). They still smell OK, are they not good to use? Further, are they in fact dangerous to use? Could they make you sick?

Apart from going easily discernibly mouldy, the main thing is that they will lose their flavour potency. And *ground* spices (with a very much larger surface area) do lose their potency very quickly. But whole nutmegs seem to 'keep' for ages... :rolleyes:

I'll second the use of out-of date herbs and spices as smoke flavourings - and remark that they are every bit as useful in an indoor/stovetop smokebox as in a larger unit.

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I'd make little sachets out of them, and put them in drawers (which I sometimes do with dried lavender), but I really don't want undies that smell like chili powder or cardamom.

How about Victoria's Secret blend of 11 herbs and spices? :laugh:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

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I'd make little sachets out of them, and put them in drawers (which I sometimes do with dried lavender), but I really don't want undies that smell like chili powder or cardamom.

How about Victoria's Secret blend of 11 herbs and spices? :laugh:

Maybe I should just add the chili powder to my body lotion, and tell my husband how hot I am... :biggrin::raz:

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A friend once took my old spices and made pomade(sp?) balls to hang on her Christmas tree. She made a diamond design with glue on craft foam balls and pressed the spices into the glue. She let each part dry, then filled another diamond with glue, and another spice until she had the whole thing covered. she ground whole spices, but used cloves to outline the design. Very Martha...

You're talking about pomanders. Orange plus clove plus cinnamon!

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