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 Post subject: Long Term Storage Spices
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:52 am 
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Well, it's taken several months but we now have enough food storage to get us through a couple of months. We have water as well, but not enough for a couple of months (yet). This is a huge accomplishment for me. Even though I was raised in EQ country and can remember my mother boiling water after the 1971 Sylmar EQ and lived near the epicenter of the 1994 Northridge Quake, I had given up on prepping other than the obligatory bi-yearly trip to Costco for batteries and peanut butter.

Does anyone have any preferences on spices? I would like to get some staples and know that if I didn't open them for years they would still be usable. The biggies would be cumin and oregano -- we make a lot of chicken tortilla soup (store what you eat and eat what you store, right?)

By the way -- the 1994 earthquake? I was vacationing on the beach in southern california and had no gas in my car as my preferred sport was playing chicken with my gas tank. Hence, in the (what I know know to be unlikely event of a tsunami given the quake was local), I would have been toast.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Everything I've seen says two to three years - tops.

We store salt (duh) and peppercorns. I'm just know life will suck without cinnamon...and a ton of other spices. Guess that is why spice was worth their weight in gold back in the day.



((SOURCE OF MANGLED TABLE)
Herbs and Spices Shelf Life

Pantry Refrigerator Freezer
Spices, whole 1-3 years - - 2-3 years
Spices, ground 6-12 months - - 1-2 years
Herb/Spice Blends, opened 1 year - - - -
Herb/Spice Blends, unopened 2 years - - - -
Herbs 6-12 months - - 1-2 years
Chili Powder 6 months - - - -
Herbs, flakes or crushed 6-12 months - - - -
Fresh Herbs - - Up to 1 week - -
Garlic 1 month 1-2 weeks 1 month
Handling Tips:
Store in airtight containers in dry places away from sunlight and heat.
Whole cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks maintain quality beyond 2 year period.
Dried spices and herbs don't spoil; they just gradually lose their aroma and taste. If properly stored, they may be fine well past the "use by" date. Color aroma, and taste are all indicators of quality.

Check potency by pouring a small amount in the palm of your hand (if seeds, crush first) and then sniff. If the scent is gone, discard the spice.
According to the experts at the Spice House, freezing won't hurt dried spices and herbs, but it probably won't extend their shelf life either.
Whole spices last longer than ground ones. For best quality, buy whole spices and grind them yourself just before use.
Refrigerate and DO NOT freeze fresh herbs. Basil is the most fragile. If it turns gray, discard it.
Source(s):
Boyer, Renee, and Julie McKinney. "Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers." Virginia Cooperative Extension (2009): n. pag. Web. 7 Dec 2009.
"Cupboard Storage Chart." K-State Research and Extension n. pag. Web. 23 Dec 2009. .
Desi at The Spice House, Evanston, Illinois

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 12:21 pm 
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I can personally vouch for
"Whole cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks maintain quality beyond 2 year period.
Also whole peppercorns, we're still using the peppercorns ZombieGramps was given for Christmas presents 5 or 6 years ago.
(Black pepper lasts much longer than pink or green ones.)

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:44 am 
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Useful info. THX!


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:05 am 
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sspilla wrote:
The biggies would be cumin and oregano -- we make a lot of chicken tortilla soup (store what you eat and eat what you store, right?)


Instead of storing it, consider planting it. It doesn't take much space, and oregano is really, really easy to grow. I've had an oregano plant in a pot for at least the last four years. Despite a serious lack of attention, it lives on, giving us way more than enough to use fresh and to dry for the winter months.

We've had similar luck with rosemary and a couple of varieties of thyme.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:08 am 
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From experience, whole cumin seeds are good well over a year. Garlic powder and onion powder aren't as good after several years but still edible. Whole cloves were good several years as well. Cinamon powder also good over 5 years. Red pepper flakes still hot almost 10 years later. This is all stuff stored in my kitchen cabinet. (I do not have the world's most gourmet taste buds, I'm sure they were even better when fresh.)

I've got extra peppercorns, onion, garlic, and chili powder, oregan and basil. (oh, and I won't be done with the red pepper flakes I bought to much of any time soon....)

And I agree with growing a lot of it, but I haven't gotten around to it either...

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:16 am 
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I agree with what has been said about whole spice lasting longer than ground...vacuum-sealing the spices and storing them somewhere cool and dry and dark will help as well.

Jamie

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 pm 
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I have not cooked with any of the foods or spices out of my pack for a few months. Actually this stuff has sat in a box in my van for a couple months now. Didnt seem to go bad til I took it out of pack and left in van.

I can now appreciate the need for almost airtight containers. Most of my stuff in plastic screw top bottles have hardened up in big clumps. All except the beef bouillon...which looks like molasses.

Would putting a piece of wax paper between lid and bottle help seal better?

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 11:16 am 
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Anlushac11 wrote:
Would putting a piece of wax paper between lid and bottle help seal better?


Probably not wax paper, maybe cling wrap. Best option is to leave the factory seal on it, though that isn't always possible obviously. Rather than a jar of loose granules of bouillon, or even cubes (which are sealed about as well as a stick of gum, and likely still prone to melting), you might try the boxes of individual packets of bouillon granules. (Or take the packets out and vacuum seal 'em.) At least if they melt it'll stay contained and you can still throw it into a pot of water/noodles/whatever.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 3:21 pm 
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Anlushac11 wrote:
I have not cooked with any of the foods or spices out of my pack for a few months. Actually this stuff has sat in a box in my van for a couple months now. Didnt seem to go bad til I took it out of pack and left in van.

I can now appreciate the need for almost airtight containers. Most of my stuff in plastic screw top bottles have hardened up in big clumps. All except the beef bouillon...which looks like molasses.

Would putting a piece of wax paper between lid and bottle help seal better?


Gas will diffuse through a plastic bottle, so a glass bottle (with the problems that fo with glass) would be better. A bit of foil under tha cap will hep keep out the moisture that 'melted' your cubes.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:11 pm 
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My biggest problem I have has been storing opened containers of spices in the van. None of the containers seem to be moisture tight and I have hardened clods of garlic power, onion powder, and chili powder. The powdered butter is now hardened as well.

I am now looking for small airtight storage jars preferably plastic or metal so if they get bounced around in van they wont break.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:12 pm 
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I want to wish a hello to all.I am new here.

i was reading your posts about storing spice. At a seminar last month I met a lady who does a very nice job putting spices in mylar with oxygen absorbers. She sells them for almost as cheap as I can get them at the store. Sorry, I did not ge her web address, just her phone number. She sells them for up to $2.50 and packs as many as she can in one of the $5.15 postal boxes. WHen I get my next order, I will post it.her web address.
I have been lurkng on this site for quite while, belong to a meetup group of preppers who meet everymonth and we share tons of info, everything from canning to reloading and have meets at the range and family picnics.
This seems to be a very active board, nice to see you all!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:47 pm 
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EE has all kinds of spices in #2.5 cans. Should last a lonnnggg time.

http://beprepared.com/category.asp_Q_c_E_944_A_Spices+and+Seasonings

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Cavediver wrote:
Instead of storing it, consider planting it. It doesn't take much space, and oregano is really, really easy to grow. I've had an oregano plant in a pot for at least the last four years. Despite a serious lack of attention, it lives on, giving us way more than enough to use fresh and to dry for the winter months.

We've had similar luck with rosemary and a couple of varieties of thyme.


+1 on this suggestion. Also agree with others re: whole versus ground. Additionally, whatever form it takes, spices do actually last longer than the official guidelines, they're just a lot less potent as time goes by. I'm embarrassed to say how old some of my less frequently used ground spices are, but when a recipe calls for them, I've learned to double or even triple the amounts.

One last point on an indoor herb garden: I cannot keep a basil plant alive indoors to save my life. :oops:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:06 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Cavediver wrote:
Instead of storing it, consider planting it. It doesn't take much space, and oregano is really, really easy to grow. I've had an oregano plant in a pot for at least the last four years. Despite a serious lack of attention, it lives on, giving us way more than enough to use fresh and to dry for the winter months.

We've had similar luck with rosemary and a couple of varieties of thyme.


+1 on this suggestion. Also agree with others re: whole versus ground. Additionally, whatever form it takes, spices do actually last longer than the official guidelines, they're just a lot less potent as time goes by. I'm embarrassed to say how old some of my less frequently used ground spices are, but when a recipe calls for them, I've learned to double or even triple the amounts.

One last point on an indoor herb garden: I cannot keep a basil plant alive indoors to save my life. :oops:


Great necro! Was actually just thinking about spices this morning. Basil is pretty easy to keep alive put in a jar with water and put in a sunny window sill. It may only last a few months but I'll grow.

My question is does anyone know if you can use peppercorns to grow pepper? I haven't looked it up on the google machine but growing stuff like that and harvesting the pepper would be kind of a fun experiment. I'm definitely going to have a herb wall growing soon.

ETA: Where I live pepper corns would need to be grown in a green house. May have to try this!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:00 pm 
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Halfapint wrote:
Great necro! Was actually just thinking about spices this morning. Basil is pretty easy to keep alive put in a jar with water and put in a sunny window sill. It may only last a few months but I'll grow.


Honestly don't know how I managed to miss that this was a necro. Normally I only read what pops up when I click "View new posts". I don't recall doing a topic search recently and typically only do that to confirm that a new thread I'm thinking about launching isn't a dupe.

Oh well. Now if you'll excuse me I have to respond to that recent thread about raising cats for food ....

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:40 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
Great necro! Was actually just thinking about spices this morning. Basil is pretty easy to keep alive put in a jar with water and put in a sunny window sill. It may only last a few months but I'll grow.


Honestly don't know how I managed to miss that this was a necro. Normally I only read what pops up when I click "View new posts". I don't recall doing a topic search recently and typically only do that to confirm that a new thread I'm thinking about launching isn't a dupe.

Oh well. Now if you'll excuse me I have to respond to that recent thread about raising cats for food ....


hahahahaha! Herding cats..... This makes me laugh every time.

Nothing wrong with necroing a thread if it's a good thread. Like I said I was just thinking about spices storage/growing. We have some spices that are OLD, and have been stored in the bags you buy from the grocery store in bulk. Already got some good info (use glass when you can), and a decent time line for how long things can be stored.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:13 am 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
Great necro! Was actually just thinking about spices this morning. Basil is pretty easy to keep alive put in a jar with water and put in a sunny window sill. It may only last a few months but I'll grow.


Honestly don't know how I managed to miss that this was a necro. Normally I only read what pops up when I click "View new posts". I don't recall doing a topic search recently and typically only do that to confirm that a new thread I'm thinking about launching isn't a dupe.

Oh well. Now if you'll excuse me I have to respond to that recent thread about raising cats for food ....


There was a Spam post which necro'd the thread. I split that spam off, removing the post from this thread, so it looks like you necro'd it from nowhere.

Given the amount of great threads we've had over the years, I see nothing wrong with digging them back up now and again, to check if the cadaver is stationary or not.

This is Zombie Squad after all.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:15 pm 
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So with the news of the property I'll be getting one of the things I'd like to start on first would be a herb wall. Something like this would be IDEAL.

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Having something like this where you can have a bunch of herbs growing, and able to pick the abundant ones and dry for longer term storage or when you run out of the fresh for some reason. I would prefer it to be indoor or perhaps in a small green house right outside kitchen, but these would be a great and pretty easy way to grow herbs.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:54 pm 
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Cardamom is a “less is more” spice: Use with caution, or it can mask milder flavours in your dish. This is one spice you should keep in the freezer—it loses freshness quickly. Alternatively, you can buy whole pods (as above) and grind them when a recipe calls for cardamom. Chai, curries, and rice dishes all get a flavour boost from cardamom.


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