On my list of things to do before Thanksgiving – sort the spices, chuck the old ones, and date the new ones. As I pull out all the spices, checking color, crushing, tasting and smelling, many are tossed and then I’m off to Penzeys to replenish my supply.

Old spices aren’t dangerous which is why there is usually no expiration date on the jar. They simply lose their flavor and aroma and won’t give the kick you are hoping for. McCormicks, the popular brand on grocery shelves, suggests on their website keeping ground spices two to three years, whole spices three to four years, seasoning blends one to two years, herbs one to three years and extracts four years.

Oh what a wonderful smell at Penzeys – a store devoted just to spices and herbs – over 250 choices. The fresh caraway seeds smell divine! On one occasion, while checking out, I asked how many people come to replenish their supply and I was told that my basket full was not unusual. One of their customers replaces everything as a regular habit the day after Thanksgiving. That might be excessive but I have written the date on my new purchases and I will love an excuse to return. Bland spices won’t ruin my Thanksgiving dinner!

Happy cooking!

Carolyn