[Sca-cooks] How long do whole spices last??

K C Francis katiracook at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 8 14:41:26 PDT 2006

This weekend I prepared a dish the contained cubebs during a class on 
Medieval Cookery for the beginner.  We ground up cubebs, long pepper and 
grains of paradise.  All were mumble years old and all smelled usable.  They 
were kept in tightly sealed jars in a closed basket in a dark hall way in 
the center of the house.  Guess I lucked out.


>From: lilinah at earthlink.net
>Reply-To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
>To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
>Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How long do whole spices last??
>Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2006 00:23:54 -0700
> >  Hello from long-lost Phillipa Seton.
>Welcome back!
> >  Can someone tell me how long whole spices last? I have some that are at
> >  least 5 years old.
>A lot will depend on several issues.
>For one, on the form of the spices.
>Whole spices keep better than ground. Ground cinnamon that has not
>been well stored may well taste like faintly cinnamon flavored dust.
>And second, on how they have been stored.
>If they have been stored (1.) in a very tightly sealed container, one
>that does not admit air, like a well sealed glass jar, AND (2.) in a
>dark place, AND (3.) in a cool place (not the fridge, just somewhere
>that doesn't get hot), the spices may still have some flavor.
>The best cubebs i ever had were those i bought in the mid-1970s and
>didn't use until the early 21st century. I didn't really know what to
>do with them and kept them over, lo, these many decades, in a very
>tightly sealed glass jar in dark and relatively cool places.
>I joined the SCA in 1999 and cooked my first feast in 2000. Those
>ancient cubebs turned out to be larger and to have superior flavor
>than any of the freshly purchased cubebs i have since bought.
>So it rather depends...
>Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
>the persona formerly known as Anahita
>Sca-cooks mailing list
>Sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

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