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The Shelf Life of Herbs and Spices & Growing your Own Herbs

Posted Aug 20 2010 4:34pm
I had a reader ask a really great question about the shelf life of herbs and Spices after  my last post . What I found I posted below. Some of these things I did not know, but I do now, and you will too if you didn't already, Read on! 

Herbs

You will want to keep your herbs in a cool, dry, and dark place. A good place would be inside your pantry closet or inside your kitchen cupboard. You never want to leave them out in sunlight or right near your stove where heat and moisture can destroy them.

Herbs do not "go bad", they lose potency. Heat, light, and moisture damage the dried botanicals. Proper storage for medicinal and culinary herbs requires glass containers, well-sealed, away from moisture, heat and light. Do not store herbs  in plastic, vinyl bags, aluminum or tin containers. Avoid keeping herbs near the stove, in the refrigerator or in the bathroom.

With proper storage, you can expect the following shelf life:
whole, dried - 2 years
cut, dried - 1 year
powdered - 6 months


How To Grow Herbs

I came across a good watch on growing our own herbs inside our homes or outside in pots. I am thinking winter will be here before we know it and thought if I would love to have a herb garden inside, so would you!

I actually have a basil plant by my sink growing (thanks to my awesome friend Susan). I use it in many of my dishes and smoothies...love my basil! But now I can grow, Cilantro, Arugula, Thyme, Chives and Parsley. Check it out, very cool and oh so easy!






Parsley
Parsley is a source of vitamin C, iodine, iron, and many other minerals. Parsley has potent phytoestrogenic activity, equal to that found in soybeans, suggesting possible cancer-preventive properties. There are many volatile oil and flavonoid phytochemicals in parsley, all having cancer protective attributes.


Basil
Basil is rich in rosmarinic and caffeic acid, which are phenolic compounds with strong antioxidant properties. Other phytochemicals in basil include orientin and vicerin, flavnoids that protect cells from damage; volatile oils, such as camphor and 1,8-cineole, that have antibacterial properties; and carotenoids such as beta-carotene.

Arugula
Arugula is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium, maganese, and magnesium. It's also a very good source of potassium, iron, zinc, riboflavin, and copper.

Chives
Chives help improve circulation of blood and lowers blood pressure, it is a good source of vitamins A and C, it is a good source of calcium, potassium and folic acid, may reduce the growth of tumors and cancer. Chives are also helpful with stomach and esophageal cancers as well as prostrate cancer.

Thyme
Thyme has been used for centuries as a cough remedy, digestive aid and treatment for intestinal parasites. The active ingredient in this common herb is thymol which can be found in listerine mouthwash because of its well-known antibacterial and antifungal properties. In fact, in Germany concoctions made with thyme are often prescribed for coughs, including those resulting from whooping cough, bronchitis and emphysema. 

For Cilantro; See Coriander in my last article .



Yours in Health.
Robin

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