Did you know that spices go off? Actually, most great chefs will do whatever they can to buy only the freshest spices and use them very quickly, or buy them in a state that can be ground or grated (like black peppercorns or nutmeg). If you have a big collection of spices, check the expiration dates. If they have none, use these guidelines and your best guess:
Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
Herbs: 1-3 years
Ground spices: 2-3 years
Whole spices (such as cinnamon sticks and peppercorns): 3-4 years
Extracts: 4 years (except for pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
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