Spices and seasonings added to a long-term food storage program will enhance what otherwise might be dull and mundane, adding flavoring and edibility of food storage staples.
Spices are dried seeds, fruit, roots, or bark of plants. Herbs are considered leafy parts of plants used for the same purpose. Most spices and herbs contain essential oils that are responsible for the flavors and aromas they provide.
While spices are not considered a priority to an emergency food supply, they can add needed flavors to foods during a long-term emergency when you may be eating the same or similar foods day in and day out…
Spices and herbs come in several forms — fresh, whole dried, or dried and ground.
Only dried spices should be used in emergency food storage.
Most of the active ingredients of spices and herbs are plant oils. The thing to remember is that oils can and will oxidize, resulting in a loss of flavor or even spoilage. Because of this, spices and herbs should be stored in air tight containers for best results long term.
You might consider storing the entire spice container in sealed food bags or jars using a vacuum sealer (there are also canning-jar attachments for this), or sealed mylar foil bags with oxygen absorbers to prevent oxidation.
Consider storing your spices or herbs in the freezer where they will last considerably longer provided they are packaged to prevent moisture. Storing spices or herbs in a hot place will significantly shorten their quality shelf life, perhaps by as much as half…
Whole spices store the best. Ground spices (and herbs) have a much shorter shelf life because they are exposed to air and will lose their quality much faster than the whole variety.
For best results, whole seasoning should be purchased and only crushed just prior to using. This is easily done with a mortar and pestle or everyday coffee grinder.
Once a year, it’s a good idea to check ground spices and herbs for freshness. If there is no apparent aroma then the seasoning should be replaced.
If stored for long periods, some of the potency will diminish – so just add more of that spice to compensate. Once opened and exposed to air, use the spice within 1 to 4 months.
Staple spices include the obvious salt-and-pepper.