I know, I know. Current wisdom dictates that we're supposed to ditch our spices after a year. However, that's a rarity for the two of us. Some spices we'll blow through in less than a month – other spices linger long past their aromatic phase.
For instance, I'm not going to tell you how long I've had my opaque bottle of garlic powder.
But generally we use spices long before the 1-year mark, because we live near a bulk spice store and can buy as much (or little) as we need every few weeks.
Or so I thought.
The other day our spice drawer was jammed, and I couldn't figure out what the obstruction was. So I contorted my arms and finally pried loose a little tin of garam masala that I had received as a gift ... about 5 years ago. At the time I wondered what had happened to that little mix of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and other spices that make up the lovely Indian spice mixture. Now I knew, it had been lodged in the upper recesses of our spice drawer.
However, in theory, because it was old I should have thrown it away.
But, that's something I couldn't bring myself to do. My mother has instilled the concept of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” deeply in me. And both she and my grandmother still firmly believe in that practice.
None of us are fanatical – no one's wearing a pair of cutoff jean shorts or turning old curtains into skirts – but there's no woman in my family who would ever throw away an unopened bottle of spice.
And my equally frugal husband, Jedd, would have given me a hairy eyeball for ditching an expensive little tin of flavor.
Since I had the spice, I thought that it might be fun to toss some of the garam masala with some sliced almonds that I had just purchased. The initial batch was small because I didn't want to waste the nuts in case the sample batch went south. Once I pulled them out of the oven, I knew I had made a mistake.
The batch should have been tripled.