Reader Tip: Register Your Spices

Holiday baking leads many of us to reach for spices that have spent most of the year far, far away in the dark corners of the cupboard. Others of us are stocking up on spices that we don't normally use, like mace and anise.

Are you wondering if the old spices from your cupboard or even the new ones from the store that you want to use in your gingerbread are still fresh? Old, musty spices will be noticeably weaker and less flavorful, even in baked goods.

Reader Shawnna tells us that spice manufacturer Spice Islands offers a free spice registration tool on their website. If you have any Spice Islands brand spices in your cupboard, you can check their age and freshness by entering the product code through the website.

Click to see it in action...

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You can also register for emails to notify you when your spices are about to expire. To check it out for yourself go to the Spice Registration at Spice Islands.

Too bad this doesn't work for other brands of spices; we have a big mix in our cupboards. Remember that the only way to make sure you're getting truly fresh spices is to grind them yourself - not as daunting of a proposition as you might think. Fresh ground cinnamon is a revelation!