Need a little excuse for a visit to the gourmet grocer? How about a refresh of your spice cabinet. Dried spices past their prime lack flavor meaning that you won't get the best out of your gourmet creation. Use or toss ground spices within one year because their oils start to dissipate once they are processed and they may no longer be at their peak. Whole spices can stick around for three years.
How do you know if your spices have lost their pep? Examine the aroma, color and flavor. If they seem weak, it's time to toss. To help your spices keep their flavor, store them in airtight containers away from light and heat, either by keeping them in a cabinet away from the stove and the dishwasher or by storing them in the refrigerator.