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What Would Martha Say?

A husband's purchase nearly 20 years go... a wife's shame that she has allowed them to stick around for SO long! Yes, we own 20-year old enormous containers of spices..... what would Martha say?

This is my spice cabinet. I know... there's a lot in there.... but I am a big-time cook and baker, so these goodies aren't just "for show".... I really use all of this stuff.

But as part of my New Year's resolution to streamline my home, I've decided to start here. And I've got my sights set on a specific target. You wanna see how huge these bad boys are? Well let me offer this comparison: Observe the normal-sized container of ground cloves on the left, which contains enough of the magic ingredient to bake about 10 loaves of pumpkin bread, 16 batches of molasses cookies, and still have enough leftover for gingerbread cookies at the holidays.

The container on the right? Well—can you see how full it is? In 20 years no one has baked enough to even put a dent in the thing—and you know why? Because it is a container of WHOLE cloves! Who even uses whole cloves? And do you know how I've come to own these over-sized containers of flavorless-crap? Were they acquired during some ambitious-bake-a-thon-driven-shopping-rampage at Costco conducted back in the prime of my youth?

Nope, guess again.

They belonged to Steve. He purchased them after college as he was moving into his first apartment after graduation. Because what every bachelor needs as he heads off on his own is a set of spices- housed in 2-liter bottles. And from the moment that Steve and I blended our two households, I have been trying to throw these damn things away....

Him: "But they're still good. why would you just throw them away to buy new ones?" Me: "Because they date back to before Julia Child's time..... AND they have no flavor... or taste." Him: "Well, my Mom bought them for me. And I don't think that we should throw them away."

Well, what's a new wife to say to THAT? (um... not much!) So, over the years... I've managed to whittle down the number of giant containers from the original 12 to just these last 4. I really have no idea how they ended up being the "last men standing". I even tried using the cinnamon sticks at Thanksgiving while preparing the cranberry sauce, and let me tell you, I would have gotten more flavor out of the twigs I find in our backyard than from what is rattling around at the bottom of this barrel.

So. I put the question out there, to the master of kitchen organization, the goddess of knowledge when it comes to all things regarding kitchen essentials.... and I ask you, Martha, how long SHOULD I keep spices around? And what would Martha say to that? Well one only needs to google the question to find the answer..... and according to MarthaStewart.com:

Spices won't spoil, but they will lose potency over time, and in general, they're best if used within SIX MONTHS OF PURCHASE!"

Yeah, okay, so her answer wasn't all bolded and capitalized and snarky....I added that in for good measure. But basically, we are about 234 months too late! So hubby—tonight when you take out the garbage and it is a bit heavier than usual.... now you'll know why.

Photo Credit and Disclaimer: Original Martha Stewart photo courtesy of poponthpop. Having Ms. Stewart's photo here on the blog in no way asserts that Martha had any knowledge of or approval of the content of this post. I mean, just because we reside in the same town, it's not like we meet up regularly for yoga and lunch. Although I am almost certain that she is a huge fan of Momof6!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa zarkower January 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM
When we helped my father-in-law purge his house before selling it, I was relegated to the kitchen cabinets. I found SIX jars of marjoram. I've never used marjoram. I'm not sure he ever has either. I chucked them all along with some spices that had labels from a store that had gone out of business 15 years before. He never asked about them because I bet he didn't even know he had them.
Lisa Buchman January 09, 2012 at 03:29 PM
And how many times a week does one need Chinese Five Spice? Or Herbs de Provence? Someone please tell me what to sprinkle these on beyond the one recipe for which they were needed—before they expire.
Sharon Rowley January 10, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Ha ha Lisa! We actually have two jars of Chinese Five Spice! And I shudder to tell you what we use it for..... the old college staple- ramen noodles! Add a little 5-spice powder, a little Thai chili sauce and my kids think this is best noodle dish ever!
Lisa Buchman January 11, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Hey did you see the new spice shop: http://bedford.patch.com/articles/little-kebab-owner-expands-with-little-spice-bazaar will sell in "small quantities"? Yesss!
Katie Ryan O'Connor January 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies! Had these at a great restaurant in Arizona and loved them -- there are bunch of recipes a la Google for adding the spice blend to treats...I also sprinkle it on butternut squash and roast it. (And I used up a whole jar of herbs de Provence last year by adding it a pinch at a time to my balsamic dressing.)

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