All spices should be kept tightly closed

in a cool, dark place, away from stove heat. Avoid shaking spices over a simmering pot because steam may contribute to flavor deterioration. When measuring spices, be sure utensils are dry.

Dried, leafy herbs, such as oregano and rosemary, are delicate and need to be replaced within eight months.

Ground spices, including ginger, cinnamon, and curry powder, lose flavor within a year because of their higher exposure to flavor-fading oxygen.

Whole spices, such as peppercorns, cumin seed, cloves, and nutmeg, hold their flavor the longest and will stay pungent until you grind them. Replace after two years.

—L.E.