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Christmas spices – how long can you keep them?

Store cinnamon, cloves etc. right.

A nice smell of cinnamon and vanilla is in the air – it’s Christmas time. Before the Christmas baking begins, it is a good idea to look through your spice rack. Why? Because spices cannot be kept unlimited.

Although these natural products aren’t likely to spoil but they lose their aromatics over the time in storage. This applies especially for grounded products, which should be used relatively quickly after opening them. The best before date only refers to closed goods.

In case you have some spices left from last year, do an “aroma-check”.  Check if the smell is already volatilized, it has a strange smell or if it has lost its color. If you like it very fresh, use unshredded Christmas spices. Cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks can be stored up to four years. The essential oils are not released until grinding with a mortar or a grater.

Ideally spices should be bought in smaller amounts and not bought ahead. This applies especially to Christmas or seasonal spices which are only used at certain times. If you want to keep them for a longer period, the right storage is important. Here a some tips:

  1. Store spices individually e.g. in spice boxes or dark spice glasses with an airtight seal.
  2. Store spices cool, dry and protected from light (humidity can cause mold and heat and scents can affect the aroma).
  3. Do not hang up your spice rack right above your stove (too much heat and humidity).

Enjoy your Christmas bakings with good and aromatic spices.

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