Your spice collection is one of the most important tools that you can have in your kitchen because it allows you to make such a wide variety of delicious foods, both sweet and savory, on a daily basis. My spice cabinet is loaded with spices, but the truth is that I don’t need all of them. There is a core group of spices that most of us use on a regular basis and, whether you are paring down your spice collection during your annual spring cleaning or stocking the pantry in a new kitchen for the first time, my list of 15 Essential Spices Every Cook Should Have should get you off to a good start. I’m sharing the full list over on the Craftsy blog (it’s free!), so check it over and see how your pantry staples compare.
This is also a good time of year to clean out old spices that might be past their prime. Spices, especially ground spices, tend to lose their potency over time and you won’t get their full flavor when you cook with them. While it does vary from spice to spice, a good rule of thumb is that you should replace ground spices every 12 months. If you find that you have nearly full jars of spices that are more than a year old, buy smaller containers so you don’t have as much leftover when it’s time to refresh your supply.