Pretty much every spice rack has some chili powder hidden in there somewhere. It is just the easiest way to put a bit of kick into a recipe. Or, if you cook as I do, it is great for masking culinary disasters in a spice wave! Whatever way you use it, you sure don’t use it all in one go. That would really be a disaster! No, we tend to use a tiny bit at a time over a very long period. But then this can mean that there might be chili powder in your spice rack that has been there for years, right? This got us wondering if chili powder can go bad and whether there is a good way of storing it to last for longer. We found some of the answers a bit surprising. Here is what we found out!
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Does Chili Powder Go Bad?
Chili powder, like most other spices, won’t last forever. However, it can keep for an absurdly long time if it has been stored well. It can even keep for longer than most other herbs and spices. Of course, there is a sell-by date on every jar of chili powder, but there is more to it than that. So, if you have found yourself looking at an ancient jar of chili powder, don’t throw it out just yet. If it has been stored well it will probably be fine. So, if you have found yourself in this situation, we have the info you need!
How Do I Store Chili Powder?
Chili powder is remarkably easy to store for long periods of time. There isn’t really any big trick or difficult technique to it either. The only thing that you really need to do is to keep it away from moisture at all times. Moisture is the worst thing out there for destroying your herbs and spices. So, our big tip is never to store the chili powder above the sink or anywhere else that gathers condensation. If you buy your chili powder in a bag, it is not the best idea to keep it there. Transfer it into a jar with a tight lid instead. You will probably want to keep it somewhere where you can easily grab it when needed. A spice rack or a kitchen cabinet is totally fine, so long as it isn’t above the cooker or sink.
Should You Refrigerate Chili Powder?
There is absolutely no reason to refrigerate chili powder. It won’t make it last longer. In fact, refrigerating chili powder is much more likely to ruin it than keep it good. The reason for this is again moisture. Every fridge has loads of moisture circulating around in it. This moisture can gradually seep into things and ruin them if they are not sealed up well enough. So, even if there is the slightest gap between the lid and the jar, moisture will get in there. This will cause the chili powder to clump together and eventually the moisture will cause the powder to go moldy. So, there you go, refrigerating chili powder is a bad idea all around!
Can You Freeze Chili Powder?
Whole chilies can definitely be stored in the freezer, and they will keep for ages. The same is not true for chili powder. If you have ever heard that it is a good idea to freeze chili powder, forget that advice! Freezing chili powder has the potential to do far more harm than good. You might think of the freezer as a cold, dry place for storage, but this isn’t the case. Moisture is everywhere in the freezer. It circulates around, looking for an entrance into your food. If there is the slightest space for this moisture to get into your chili powder and ruin it, it will find it! On top of this, condensation will occur when it is taken out of the freezer. It just isn’t worth doing.
How Long Does Chili Powder Last?
Your chili powder will have a sell-by date printed on it somewhere. The good news is that in most cases this date won’t mean all that much. It depends more on how the chili powder was stored. Was it kept away from moisture? Was it always sealed up again before it was put back? Was it stored away from the cooker and the sink? If the answer to these is yes, there isn’t much need to worry about out of date chili powder. It doesn’t really go off! Instead, it is much more likely that the powder will just lose its flavor and its strength. So, chili powder that is more than 2 years out of date will most likely be safe, but it won’t be that strong. We would recommend checking out our section below on how to spot the signs of spoilage, just to be sure.
How Do I Make My Chili Powder Last Longer?
The only tips we can give you to keep your chili powder for longer are really simple. Never put it in the fridge or the freezer, for starters. The next one is to always keep it away from moisture. Avoid storing it above the cooker or the sink. Before you return it back from where it came always make sure the lid is as tight as it can possibly be. Too much exposure to air can cause it to fade prematurely. One tip we can give you is this. Don’t throw out chili powder that has lost some of its heat. If you use more of it, you can still get some heat into that recipe!
Signs That Your Chili Powder May Have Gone Off
We have mentioned that chili powder will generally lose its heat instead of going off. This is true in most cases, but it doesn’t mean that chili powder won’t go off at all. Storing it correctly has a huge effect on this. Moisture will ruin it pretty quickly if you are not careful, and most of the signs of spoilage are created by this. The first sign that this has happened will be that the chili powder has all clumped together. It may also feel damp to the touch if this has happened. If it has been like this for a while, you may even notice that it has begun to grow mold. If you notice any of these signs, the only thing to do is to throw it out. Damp chili powder will no longer be safe to use.
Well, that’s all we have for chili powder. We hope that you found at least some of this information useful and relevant to you. Thanks for reading!