Storage of Spices
Spices and herbs will lose their color, taste and aroma over time. To preserve peak flavor and color, store spices and herbs in a cool (consider storing them in the freezer), dry place, away from exposure to bright light, heat, moisture or oxygen. If possible, avoid storing spices and herbs too close to the stove, oven, dishwasher or refrigerator, where rising steam or heat can come into contact with them. Dampness can cause caking or clumping of ground spices. Store herbs and spices in airtight containers, such as glass jars, plastic containers or tins, to protect against moisture and preserve oils that give spices their flavor and aroma.
Red-colored spices, such as chili powder, cayenne pepper and paprika can be refrigerated to prevent loss of color and flavor. The best storage temperature for herbs and spices is one that is fairly constant and below 21º C. Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, and eventually mold, so if you store spices in the freezer or refrigerator, return them promptly after use.
The shelf life of each herb and spice is different, and all age, even under the best conditions. Check your herbs and spices — and those you consider purchasing — to see that they look fresh, not faded, and are distinctly aromatic. The shelf life of herbs and spices will vary according to the form and plant part, too. Those that have been cut or powdered have more surface area exposed to the air and so lose their flavor more rapidly than whole herbs and spices.