Preppers often have plans in place for their canned goods, their dry goods, their foraging plans, and water purification… but what about knowing how to store seasonings and spices?
Imagine going without something as simple and ever-present as salt. It could get pretty miserable doing without this basic seasoning, so make sure you plan ahead.
Average Shelf Life
For the most part, the ground spices you already have in your cabinets are pretty shelf stable. It takes most of us three years worth of autumns to get through that whole bottle of “pumpkin pie spice”, and it seems to survive that amount of time without issue.
Typically ground spices will be stable in their containers for about three years. Whole spices can go five or six – especially if the bottles are still sealed. That’s with little to no preparation though. If you take the proper steps, spices can last indefinitely.
You can usually tell if a spice has gone past its peak by doing a quick examination. Is it clumping together? Has the color changed? Does it smell bad, or perhaps not smell at all? If so, consider those spices spoiled, and restock.
Basic Seasonings to Store
It is absolutely vital that you have enough salt on hand. Our bodies and brains need salt to remain healthy, and we lose a lot of salt in our sweat, urine, and (worst case scenario) in our blood.
You can also use salt to preserve meats (such as salt pork), to pickle vegetables, melt snow and ice, attract deer and other wild game, and when mixed with water it even has a use as a gargle to help heal sore throats.
You can store this either as whole peppercorns or as grounds. If you are storing it whole, make sure you have some means of grinding or pulverizing it later.
Besides just spicing up your tomatoes, there are a few health benefits to having plenty of oregano around. The oil within oregano leaves have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Oregano also adds nice flavor to soups, stews, pasta dishes, and pizza along with the nutritional benefits. It’s a very easy herb to grow and generally comes back each year without replanting, even in colder climates.
Thyme is another easy herb to grow and offers nice flavors to many dishes. There are also many varieties, including lemon thyme. Grow your own, stock up on store bought, or do both (like I do).
This one can be stored either pre-ground, or as cinnamon sticks. What could be nicer than a bit of sugar and cinnamon mixed together in a survival situation? Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and cinnamon is a great way to experience “treats” now and then.
Again, you can choose to store this either as ground ginger, or as preserved roots. Ginger makes a nice, tangy food additive, in addition to a few medical advantages. Ginger is wonderful to have around in case of stomach distress. Any type of nausea, either as a result of food, motion sickness, or even pregnancy can usually be helped by ginger. It is also good to use in case of heartburn.
Other Herbs & Seasonings to Consider Storing
* Onion Powder
* Garlic Powder
* Chili Powder
* Taco Seasoning
The best rule of thumb is to store what you like and use on a regular basis.
Other Cooking Ingredients to Store
* Baking soda
* Baking powder
* Dry milk
* Canned milk
How To Store Seasonings Long Term
Spices are best stored like other dry goods – in sealed mylar bags, inside sealed food-grade buckets with O2 absorbers. It is usually best to store several small bags of spices in a single bucket, so that you do not need to expose a large quantity to the air at once. Keep in a cool, dry place up off the floor and out of direct sunlight. Spices do best at temperatures no warmer than 70 degrees.