Tacos are definitely a regular dinner rotation for us each week. We usually alternate between chicken or ground beef. Over the years, I have always bought those seasoning “packets” from the store. However, have you ever looked at the back of the packet? There is a lot of sodium and unhealthy preservatives. Especially lately, I have been trying to eat “clean.” Honestly, I have noticed a big difference over the last few weeks in just how I feel. (And I have even lost a few pounds!)
A few weeks ago, I started going through each of my kitchen cabinets to clean and organize them. One of the major items I wanted to do, was to go through and update all my spices.
Here are a few tips that I found and use from SpiceWorks:
Checking For Freshness
Before using your herbs and spices, use your senses to determine freshness.
Green, leafy herbs will often fade as they age. Red spices such as paprika, red pepper and chili powder will turn brown in color.
Place a small amount in your palm and gently rub with your thumb. The aroma should be rich, full and immediate. If not, it’s probably lost potency. For whole spices, break or crush to release their full fragrance. Then scrape with a knife or grater.
If in Doubt, Throw it Out
Herbs and spices are some of the least expensive ingredients in any entree. So if you question their freshness, it’s worth it to replace them.
Tips To Prolong Freshness
Buy quality products
High-end Spices and herbs start with some of the highest volatile-oil levels, so they can retain their flavor longer.
Store herbs and spices in cool, dry surroundings, away from direct light, heat or humidity. Keep in airtight glass jars and close tightly after each use.
Don’t shake over a boiling pot
Moisture from steam may diminish the potency of spices or herbs remaining in the jar. Pour a small amount into your hand or a ramekin, then add to dishes.
Here is a rough guideline for how long to keep herbs and spices.
- Ground Spices 2-3 years
- Whole Spices 3-4 years
- Herbs 1-3 years
- Seasoning Blends 1-2 years
- Extracts 4 years
This DIY Taco Seasoning is so easy to make. Takes just minutes to put together! Best part – NO Preservatives and Gluten-Free! I will never buy the packet stuff again!
- 1½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- In a small container, combine all ingredients together.
- Brown your meat and drain, as usual. Mix seasoning with meat.
- Over medium - low heat, add ⅓ cup water and stir to incorporate.
If you make multiple batches in advance to store, roughly use 3 Tablespoons per 1 lb. meat.