This morning as I was starting my first batch of pickles for the day, I noticed my supply of spices needed for the recipe needed replenishing.
I went to my spice rack to see if I had adequate amounts of what I needed there. (If your interest is piqued regarding the pretty-darn-spiffy, one-of-a-kind labels on my jars, you can go to a post I did in 2011.)
Turns out the jar of spice I needed was only half full. Since these jars that fit my spice rack aren't large nor do they hold a very big quantity, I keep back-up amounts of herbs and spices in the pantry.
The bigger amounts for back-up are in 4 oz. canning jars topped with canning lids. I store them on a north wall in the pantry, in a cabinet behind closed doors, and they stay cool even in the warmest summer weather.
But back at the spice rack. Before I knew it, I was checking another jar and then another jar to see if any more needed to be topped off from my reserve supplies. I ended up doing the whole durn rack full and in the process realized that the date on some of my herbs and spices was getting a little old. (I put a date on a little piece of masking tape on both the jars in the rack and those in the pantry. Since herbs and spices do get old and lose their potency, I try to replace them when they've lived in the pantry longer than they should.)
In the middle of this little chore, a niggling voice in my head rang out loud and clear, "Hey, girlie, don't you have pickles to make here?" Ooops, I didn't mean to get sidetracked . . . again.
The upside is that I did do a thorough check of which herbs and spices I need to get at our local co-op next trip in (it's really hard to make a good gingersnap cookie without ginger) and which ones I'll make a note to stock up on this fall.
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This public service message on dating your herbs and spices
in order to keep them fresh and tasty
has been brought to you
by Mama Pea.