The Lifestylist test kitchen is almost complete! As I was taking everything out of drawers and my old pantry I realized now is the perfect time to check expiration dates on everything and get rid of things that aren't as fresh as the rest of the ingredients I use in my dishes.
I was amazed that most spices didn't have expiration dates on them, but here are a few simple tips that can help you decide whether to keep or trash you pantry inventory.
* Smell - always the easiest. If something smells "off" or in the case of spices has no scent at all it's time to replace.
* Appearance - if something looks off as far as color or texture get rid of it immediately! The last thing you want to do is make yourself or your guests sick. Faded spices can mean that their strength isn't what it should be and will throw off the taste of your dish.
* Expiration Dates - I do trust these and if somethings past that date will get rid of it. It just isn't worth ruining a dish of dinner party to save a few dollars.
* Moisture - if something get introduced to an outside moisture source I would get rid of it instead of having to worry about mold or having it compromised.
My sweet contractor made me a spice rack and I can't wait to start filling it. My favorite source for the freshest spices is Penzeys. They have opened quite a few stores and they also can be purchased online.
My new absolute spicy find though is Tabasco Spicy Salt. I've never found it in the stores but you can but it at their online store. It's a blend of their very own slat that is mined on Avery Island, Louisiana and ground red pepper. It has quite a kick and a little goes a long way. I use it on everything!