Guilty as charged.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 15, 2018

 

It's a no-brainer that buying fresh produce and baked goods in bulk on your next trip to Sam's Club or Costco isn't the best idea. Wilted kale and stale baguettes (unless you're making panzanella for a community potluck) are no fun — and a visual reminder of money going down the drain.

But here's a less-obvious warehouse club find to steer clear of when you're grocery shopping à la bulk: spices. Yes, there may be a paprika or cumin jar sitting on your spice rack from 1999, but over time, spices lose their flavor intensity, even if they don't flat-out "spoil." That means after you buy a pound of cinnamon and are still using it three years from now, it will have lost some of its potency and you'll have to use extra in recipes to compensate. In the long-run, you'll likely lose money on bulk spice purchases whose flavors' mellow out when a standard container would already last you a few months, if not a year.

If you're buying bulk, keep in mind that whole spices maintain their flavor for longer than ground spices do, as INSIDER explains in a recent article. And as for that ground mustard that's survived three spice racks and four moves? Just toss it already, y'all.