I Cleaned Out Our Spice Cabinet For The First Time In Years

Here is an easy quiz for you.

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Q1:  What percentage of our herbs, spices & seeds did I throw away because they had expired?

  • 15%
  • 45%
  • 63%
  • 80%

Q2:  How many containers did I throw away? 

  • 11
  • 23
  • 29
  • 36

Q3:  How much money did I toss out when I cleaned out our spice cupboard? 

  • $18.00
  • $72.00
  • $97.42
  • $150.00, more or less

Q4:  Were any of the herbs, spices & seeds never opened before being tossed out?

  • Yes
  • No

 Q5:  Were any of the containers duplicates?

  • No
  • Yes

Q6:  The following is a list of dates. Which date do you believe accurately describes the oldest container in the cupboard?

  • June 14, 2003
  • October 5, 2002
  • November 25, 2000
  • so old there is no date on the container

Q7:  Are all the above dates real dates that I found on the containers that I threw out?

  • No
  • Yes

Q8:  The following is a list of herbs, spices & seeds.  Which is the oldest one that I found?  

  • Celery Seed
  • Basil
  • Leaf Marjoram
  • Dill Weed

Q9:  Of the following herb/spice blends, which one am I saddest to see go?

  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Lemon Pepper
  • French Seafood Seasoning
  • Pizza Seasoning

Bonus Question for Extra Credit:  Of the following three extracts which was the only one that we opened and used?

  • Pistachio Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Vanilla Extract

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Answers are in bold.  🙂

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

27 thoughts on “I Cleaned Out Our Spice Cabinet For The First Time In Years”

    1. philosophermouse, all of it was quite unexpected. I opened the cabinet to get one spice, realized that it was expired, then thought: I wonder how many more in here are old? About an hour later I realized that 80% were well past their prime. Made me laugh, but really…

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        1. You said it. The fennel seeds I found were a strange grayish, mustard shade that looked more like a lab experiment than anything edible. They stopped me in my tracks. Made me wonder about my suitability as a cook.

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  1. Hilarious! I cleaned mine out last year after reading an article by McCormick spices. The article said if there is no zip code on the company address to just throw it out! Yep, I had spices without zip codes. I hate recipes that require obscure spices you will only use one. I don’t clip those anymore. Also, my poultry seasoning multiplies in my cabinet. I buy one and the next time I look there are three cans. I use it once a year at Thanksgiving. Go figure….

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    1. kate, I didn’t know about the zip code thing. I was looking for expiration dates to guide me. I know what you mean about not using recipes with one specific, obscure spice. No more of that nonsense around here.

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      1. The zip code thing is for really old, old spices. There were no expiration dates on back then. Now if there isn’t and expiration date on the can, I write on it when I buy it and after 2 years out it goes.

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  2. I did the same thing only a week ago! It didn’t yield such spectacular results as your springclean did, but I had spices in there older than my son, which was a bit weird. I now need new spices. Sounds like you do too.

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    1. Polly, I was laughing at the thought of you having spices older than your son, but then I realized that we did too. Maybe we need to commit to doing this project more often than once a decade. What do you think?

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  3. I cleaned out mine a couple weeks ago. Did you know they recommend tossing them out after 3 or 6 months? That’s not going to happen around here. I find it really hard to throw away jars of spice I ended up not liking – so I only buy the small size from Penzeys anymore and still, they last longer than a few months. Once upon a time I bought a large restaurant size of crushed red pepper. I do use it a lot, after all. I didn’t notice that I was putting increasingly large amounts in my tomato sauce until after I bought a new jar, shook out the usual amount of pepper and had to go buy more stuff to double the recipe.

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    1. Zazzy, I can’t imagine that spices go bad that quickly! My solution to this potential waste of money is to use fewer spices. Honestly, I was shocked by how much I threw out. Never again, I say.

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  4. I’m lucky enough to live near Cleveland’s West Side Market, where I can buy small quantities of fresh herbs and spices. What a great resource! This means I don’t have to go through what you just did. And I grow and preserve my own herbs, too. Isn’t it nuts how much it all adds up to be?

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  5. Ha ha. Good post. Remember when I cleaned out my spice cabinet? You need to now go Krogering. And by the way I use Almond Extract in my icing recipe. Love it.

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    1. Cheri, I do remember your cabinet. You had about a hundred containers of Sage, didn’t you? Didn’t know about the Almond Extract in the icing. We love almonds, so why not? Thanks.

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  6. Spices are SO expensive that I hate to throw them out–but rarely use any but my Christmas cookie ingredients. (cream of tartar, vanilla and almond extracts)

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  7. I love this post – and I got every answer right! 🙂 Probably because when we re-did our kitchen last summer I cleaned out our spice cabinet and discovered exactly the same thing as you. What a crazy waste of money…some of the spices were from when we moved (2005), but yet I was still using them! Argh! Now we only have 6 spices and pepper and salt. And it’s staying that way!

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    1. Kristen, every answer right, you say? You get an A+ on this quiz.

      I agree that it is a crazy waste of money. We both like to cook and I like to bake, but we had way too many spices sitting around. Like you, I’m going to limit how many we buy/use in the future.

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  8. Threw out a bunch when I moved but I used the “if you can’t smell anything, throw it out” method. They usually loose their scent before they reach their expiration date once they are opened.

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    1. la p, I used that method on the newer ones and threw out lots that were either odorless or wonky. I plan on not having so many spices around in the future. You live, you learn, eh?

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