If you’ve had spices in your cabinet forever (like most of us have), it’s time to give them a second look. According to reps from McCormick, you should throw out spices from that brand if their labels say they were made in Baltimore — because they’re 25 years old or more.
While spices don’t go bad as quickly as other kitchen staples do, it’s still not a good idea to keep them around quite that long. Yes, even if you swear that cinnamon still smells delish.
Considering that some expired foods, such as meat, produce, and dairy products, can get you seriously sick, most people don’t give it a second thought when it comes to tossing the older food in the fridge. But the pantry is just as important, as McCormick is pointing out.
Last week, the brand posted a photo on Facebook that revealed that any spice that says it was made in Baltimore, Maryland, is officially past its prime, because they haven’t made spices there in over 25 years. That means your spice is now old enough to not only vote and drink, but also to rent a car. That is too old to be using it in your cooking.
And for the record, McCormick added that its newer spices are now being made in Hunt Valley, Maryland, for future reference.
So to recap: Throw out spices made in Baltimore, and keep spices made in Hunt Valley.
Delish also added that McCormick spices aren’t in rectangular containers anymore either, so that’s another good way to know that it’s time to throw out your spices.
There’s a good chance plenty of people are looking in their pantry in horror right now, so if that applies to you, don’t worry — you’re probably not the only one realizing that your longest-lasting relationship was with a jar of thyme.
Will expired spices actually hurt you? Probably not, but they’re not going to taste very good (or have any flavor at all), either. While you’re examining those old McCormick bottles, here’s a good rule to keep in mind: whole spices last four years, ground spices last three to four years, and dried leaves are good for one to three years.
Beyond that, it’s time to replace. And obviously, any spices you purchase that need to be refrigerated will probably have an expiration date on them for you to follow.