Spices and seasonings added to a long-term food storage (deep pantry) will enhance what otherwise might be dull and mundane (with some of your ‘staple’ foods such as rice & beans, etc..), enhancing flavor and edibility. Spices may consist of 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 which are responsible for their flavors and aromas. While spices are not considered a priority for an emergency food supply, they can add needed flavors to foods during a long-term situation when you might be somewhat repeatedly eating the same or similar food staples day in and day out… Spices and herbs come in several forms — fresh, whole dried, or dried and ground. Note: Dried spices will store the best for long-term storage. Most of the active ingredients of spices and herbs are plant oils. The thing to remember is that oils can and will eventually 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 or bags of spices sealed with a vacuum sealer (there are also canning-jar attachments for this), or even sealed Mylar foil bags with oxygen absorbers to prevent oxidation. —————————– FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit —————————– Spices or herbs stored in the freezer will last considerably longer provided they are packaged to prevent moisture from entering. Storing spices or herbs in a hot environment will significantly shorten their quality shelf life, perhaps by as much as half… Whole spices store the best. Why? Ground-up 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 spice prior to being ground. 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 you might consider replacing the seasoning. If stored for long periods, some of the potency will diminish – so just add more of that spice to compensate! News Flash: You can grow some of your own too! Okay, now your turn… What do you like for spices and herbs and do you keep any extra specifically for long-term storage? Which one’s?