OMG, TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY?!?!
I know, shock and awe.
I just want to share an interesting tip I just learned on the NAPO chat email list: f you have a red-and-white tin of a McCormick spice, it is at least FIFTEEN (15) years old. Eew!
McCormick has a page on which you can type in the code on the bottom of your McCormick spice container and find out how old it is. I don’t know why they don’t just put expiration dates on the damn things, or at least the year of manufacture, but there you are.
They also provide this info:
Ground spices are good for 2-3 years
Whole spices: 3-4 years
Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
Herbs: 1-3 years
Extracts: 4 years, except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely
If you have no clue of the vintage of some of your herbs/spices, I recommend this: Crush it up and smell it, or taste a little. If it has lost its flavor/scent, ditch it. If it’s still tasty/fragrant, put this month and year on it; you may not know when you got it, but you know it was in your possession today! Then you can throw it out based on the guidelines above, or a bit sooner depending on your intuition. I don’t think anyone ever died from eating an old herb or spice, but your food will definitely taste better if they’re only kept within the time guidelines.