My daughter was cleaning out her cupboards, mostly to reorganize the space. Naturally she discovered some goodies that were well past their prime. We all have some...so I thought I'd share some tips on how to know when something is ready for the trash bin.
Dried herbs & Spices - easy, sniff and taste a tiny amount. If it's lost flavor from the get go...it won't have any in a dish. Ideally, we should mark the date we bought it right on the container. Most seasonings lose their oomph within a year.
Nuts should actually be kept in the freezer unless you are going to use them within a couple of weeks or they'll go rancid...(that weird "old" smell).
Baking powder and baking soda will look white forever and since there really isn't any taste or smell to give old, useless boxes away. Both of them are supposed to work together with flour and act sort of like yeast...expanding the dough. You really can see it working in muffins. It's why you usually add them just before baking.
Here's the real test to ensure their freshness:
Baking powder - 1 tsp in half glass of hot water - if it's fresh, it will bubble up. If not - replace it.
Baking soda's test is a little different - pour half tsp of vinegar over a little baking soda. It too will bubble up if fresh.
If you have any other tips on how to tell if things are fresh, please leave them in the comments.
You can also email me any kitchen questions you might have - ruth(at)4everykitchen(dot)com