Most households keep their spices in a spice rack on wall or counter top. That is the worst place for one to store spices. Let me explain why its the worst place and how to store Indian spices the best way.
The best way to store Indian spices is away from light, heat and moisture. Make space in your kitchen cupboard or drawer where the spices can be safe from kitchen stove heat and also shielded from light and moisture.
Heat, moisture and direct sunlight accelerate the loss of flavor. They also break down the aromatic chemical components found in the spices.
How to store frequently used spices?
You can keep a small batch of frequently used spices in the traditional masala dabba. After use, store the masala dabba the same way in a dark corner away from the heat.
The traditional masala dabba has 2 lids on it. One lid is to keep the box closed and the second one is to keep the flavors intact. The second lid is only removed when using the spices.
The masala dabba is also called the Indian spice box. Its convenient and used everyday in Indian households.
How to store Indian spices in bulk?
Whether its grounded or whole spices bought in bulk, they can be stored in glass, plastic or metal airtight jars. Make sure that the seal is tight to lock the volatile oils and flavors inside the jars and moisture out.
When buying spices try not to buy in bulk, instead buy small portions that can be used and replenished quickly.
If for some reason, you have to buy in bulk then buy whole spices and not the grounded one.
The whole spices flavor remains strong for 3-4 years whereas if buying grounded the potency lasts for roughly 6 months only.
How to store masala powder for long time?
When storing the Masala Powder, make sure that the powder is stored at the right temperature.
Store masala powder at a temperature between 50oF to 60o F (10oC – 15oC). High temperatures can make the powder harden, cake or lose color.
Ideally, no masala powder should be stored for more than 9 months as the flavors tend to kick and fade away.
If you want to store it for longer than 9 months, you can store the masalas in your freezer. Make sure that the packaging is air tight, otherwise it can trap humidity.
How to store masala or spice packets?
If you can, fridge is the best place to keep your packed spices(not the opened ones). It keeps the spices fresh and flavors intact.
But ideally it is not possible to have all your spices stored in the fridge as they would take lot of space.
You can keep the favorite ones in the fridge if that works or can keep all the packets in a kitchen or pantry corner where heat, light and moisture can’t reach.
I usually keep all my spice or masala packets in a dark pantry corner in my kitchen.
How to store dry masalas?
Dry masalas should be kept in airtight container away from moisture. They can be stored in a dark, dry place in the kitchen.
If you want to keep dry masalas in fridge to maintain their freshness then make sure the masala is packaged in an airtight packaging.
Small opened packets of dry masalas should not be kept in the fridge as they tend to absorb moisture and loose flavor.
How to buy Indian spices?
As we are talking about the right storage method, it is also important that we pay attention on what to look for when buying Indian spices.
- Whenever buying Indian spices the goal should be to Buy Less but Buy More Often
- Buy spices that have been packaged in air tight containers or packets. Do not buy ones packaged in material like cardboard
- Give preference to whole spices over grounded. Whole spices start to ‘leak’ their flavor and aroma as soon as grinded.
- Spices like Cinnamon, Ginger and Turmeric are an exception to ‘Buy Whole Spice Only’ rule. These are hard to grind and its better and easier to buy these grounded.