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leatherface_y2k
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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:46:25 AM
How does one store things such as garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, pre-ground spices such as those? Will they keep for an extended period in the original container with the paper/foil top in place? Better to keep the Costco sized containers or purchase the smaller containers? Walked through Costco today and didn't buy any, but they have large, 14 oz., of most spices for about $5. That might buy 1 small bottle of spice / seasoning at the grocery store.

Just wondering if there's anyone here with experience storing such things.
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midmo
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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:48:12 AM
They will lose potency over time, but our cycle-time for store-bought spices is about two years and I can't say I've noticed any degradation on that schedule. Many spices, including all of the ones you list, can be grown at home quite easily, so for a truly long-term supply an herb garden and a stockpile of seeds is a better bet. We only rely on store-bought now when we run out of home-grown, or for those things that won't grow here - black pepper, etc. For those items that can be purchased whole (e.g. peppercorns, nutmeg, etc.), go that route instead... they'll store much longer than pre-ground. We use a cheap Cuisinart coffee mill (like this one) as a spice grinder and it works fine.
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packingXDs
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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:59:19 AM

Originally Posted By midmo:
They will lose potency over time, but our cycle-time for store-bought spices is about two years and I can't say I've noticed any degradation on that schedule. Many spices, including all of the ones you list, can be grown at home quite easily, so for a truly long-term supply an herb garden and a stockpile of seeds is a better bet. We only rely on store-bought now when we run out of home-grown, or for those things that won't grow here - black pepper, etc. For those items that can be purchased whole (e.g. peppercorns, nutmeg, etc.), go that route instead... they'll store much longer than pre-ground. We use a cheap Cuisinart coffee mill (like this one) as a spice grinder and it works fine.

+1

This is the real answer. Sure store bought will keep for years, but its never as good as homegrown. With a little effort you can store homegrown spices just as you would store bought. So you end up with a perpetual source (most grow like weeds) of herbs and spices that store just as good as anything else.
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TaylorWSO
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:36:49 AM

Originally Posted By leatherface_y2k:
Just wondering if there's anyone here with experience storing such things.

They store quiet well, but will lose some flavor but as long as they are dry they do fine.

I use mason jars, then vac seal. 5 years is no problem, 10 would be fine as well but I haven't got that far yet to test them
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Harvster
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Posted: 10/5/2012 9:24:01 AM
I have some basic spices in mylar with oxygen absorbers. I bet they are good for ten years or more. I'm sure taste will degrade some but not enough for me to care at that point.
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KnifeCollector
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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:37:47 PM
If buying the small containers of spices, don't store in the plastic containers they come in. After a couple years they will absorb moisture and get hard. I had about 50 of these of various spices, and after few years, I needed a couple and they were so hard I couldn't get the contents out of the bottles. Threw half of them away.
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1fromtx
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Posted: 10/5/2012 2:49:49 PM
Vac. sealing them should help keep em fresh for a while.
leatherface_y2k
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Posted: 10/6/2012 1:40:59 AM
Thanks for the info!

I know spices aren't "necessary", but can make a world of difference, and would be a safe item to trade. My back yard is tiny, so can't really plant a garden, but how do various herbs and such do in 5 or 10 gallon buckets or planters? I know it's easy to grow chilies and dill in those. But it seems like you'd need a sizable plot to grow enough garlic or peppers to yield garlic powder or paprika. How do you even make paprika?? LOL

And I do keep a good reserve of whole black pepper on hand and rotate through the stuff. Comfortable amount of both iodized, kosher and sea salt stored. I don't dip into those, just add more occasionally.
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FreedomUSCG
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Posted: 10/6/2012 3:31:29 AM
Originally Posted By Harvster:
I have some basic spices in mylar with oxygen absorbers. I bet they are good for ten years or more. I'm sure taste will degrade some but not enough for me to care at that point.


Ten years is far long enough to have replenished your spice pantry...
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midmo
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Posted: 10/6/2012 4:42:57 AM
Originally Posted By leatherface_y2k:
Thanks for the info!

I know spices aren't "necessary", but can make a world of difference, and would be a safe item to trade. My back yard is tiny, so can't really plant a garden, but how do various herbs and such do in 5 or 10 gallon buckets or planters? I know it's easy to grow chilies and dill in those. But it seems like you'd need a sizable plot to grow enough garlic or peppers to yield garlic powder or paprika. How do you even make paprika?? LOL

And I do keep a good reserve of whole black pepper on hand and rotate through the stuff. Comfortable amount of both iodized, kosher and sea salt stored. I don't dip into those, just add more occasionally.


Paprikas are just another kind of pepper. We grow them like any other, harvest, slice them in half lengthwise, then put them in the smoker for a while - until the skins just start to brown, usually 20-30 minutes (we like "smoked paprika" ). Then it's into the dehydrator for a few hours. Whey they are almost completely dry - not quite brittle - we take them out and put them in a paper bag and let them sit overnight. This lets any residual moisture from the thicker parts of the cut peppers disperse more evenly. The next day it's back into the dehydrator for one more round, Once they're good and dry, we throw them in the spice grinder and.... paprika.

We follow the same route (including the smoking) for a lot of other peppers too. Jalapenos, habaneros, Bhut jolokia (Ghost peppers)... all make interesting spice powders that are nice to have on hand, especially if you like spicy chili, etc.

Cayennes: when the pods are good and red, we string these up into a ristra that hangs in the corner of the kitchen until they are dry, then grind. We made a long sock thing out of cheesecloth to keep the flies off 'em... lose the decorative appeal of a string of peppers hanging in the corner, but it's better than having fly crap all over them.

Other herbs, like basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, etc: we just gather clumps, put a rubber band around the base, and hang them from the cabinet doors for a few days to air dry. We don't have fly problems with these; they act as a natural repellent.

Almost all of these will grow well in containers. If you have a deck or even a patio that gets decent sun, you can build a small herb garden box, or a longer, narrower window-box type thing to hang off a deck or balcony railing that'll take advantage of otherwise wasted space. Before you know it you'll be zipping out there to grab a handful of oregano to beef up a spaghetti sauce, or a few sprigs of rosemary to throw into some oven-roasted potatoes.

Try it. It's fun.
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