Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600638


     Since  commercially ground spices lose their flavor and
aroma  quickly-within six months- many people like to  grind
their own.  As long as spices are whole, you can safely keep
them  tightly  capped in a kitchen cupboard.  Spices release
their oils  by  cracking  or  grinding  them,  you  multiply
their surface area at  least  eightfold and  expose them  to
oxygen.  Then the spices belong in the freezer.  (That's why
ground coffee belongs in the freezer, too).                 

     A coffee  mill can be used for  spice grinding.  If you
blend  your  own curry seasonings from whole spices, be sure
to keep  the  leftover mixture and the partially used spices
in the freezer.                                             

    Green   peppercorns   are  highly   perishable  immature
peppercorns.  If they  are purchased packed  in  brine,  you
should expect green   peppercorns  to spoil.   Either freeze
them on a cookie sheet,  collect them in a jar and keep them
in the freezer, or add them to butter and freeze them.      

     One  category of spices belong  in  the refrigerator or
the freezer for  reasons  of safety,  as  well as for flavor
retention.  Red spices, including red pepper, chili  powder,
all the  paprikas and cayenne pepper  contain insect eggs in
their tissues, even after they've been ground up.   When the
temperature and the humidity are high, worms can grow.      

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