If you love spice, paprika is probably one of them that you have at home. With its mild spiciness and strong aroma, this spice is very versatile in the kitchen. It can be used to flavor salads, use in soups and stews, and used to add coloring to foods. No matter how you use the spice, you may be wondering how long does paprika last.
So how long does paprika last? Paprika is spice and it’s considered a non-perishable food item. If you store paprika in an airtight container and keep them stored in the pantry or cupboard, it will last for up to 3 years.
If you want to find out more about the shelf life of paprika and the methods to store them, keep reading.
How Long Does Paprika Last?
If you’ve bought paprika, they will usually come with a “best by” date printed on the jar or package. Make sure to look at it before buying them. These will usually last for a very long, but you’ll want to make sure it’s not past the printed date or the quality will diminish.
For dried and ground paprika, it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 years. Of course, this is possible if you provide the right storage conditions.
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Paprika does go bad in the way that foods do. Instead of going bad, the spice will lose its flavor and potency. Paprika will gradually deteriorate in flavor over time.
Other times, when it may go bad due to other factors like humidity and moisture. Paprika will get moldy and clump together. When this happens, the spice needs to be thrown away due to the mold growing on it.
How To Tell When Paprika Is Bad?
It’s easy to tell if paprika is bad or not. Here’s what you can do:
Pour some of the grounded paprika onto a plate. Sift it for any bugs or pests that may be in there. If there are, you should discard them. Consuming paprika with bugs could make you sick.
If you do not find any bugs in the paprika, inspect the texture. Good quality paprika will not have any clumps in them. If you do find some clumps, it may be still good to use. This just means that the paprika has been exposed to moisture or humidity. You’ll just need to get a new jar to store it.
The last thing you want to check is the smell and taste of it. It should have a strong aroma and spicy taste to it. If it’s mild tasting and not a strong of an aroma, it’s up to you to continue using it or not.
Does Paprika Get Bugs?
Paprika doesn’t go bad naturally and can be kept in good quality for many years. There are times that the spice will go bad and it’s due to bug infestation.
Some bugs like the cigarette and drugstore beetles are attracted to paprika. They love this spice so much that the beetles can actually live and feed on it for many years.
Paprika is nutrient-packed and it has everything that these beetles need to survive.
You may be wondering how do the beetles get in there, even if the jar is sealed tight. Most of the time, it’s during the production process that the beetles find their way into the jar. Due to their small size, they will go unnoticed.
To ensure that the spice is free of the beetles, it’s recommended to freeze them once you get home. Keeping the spice frozen in the freezer for a couple of days will kill all the beetles and their eggs.
How To Store Paprika
When storing paprika, there are a few things to keep them away from. Doing so will keep the spice fresh for a long time.
The four main things that affect the quality of the paprika are air, humidity and moisture, heat sources, and sunlight.
No matter how well you store the spice, over a period of time, the aroma and flavor of it will gradually deteriorate. If it’s exposed to any of the four factors above, it will only cause the paprika to go bad much quicker.
The recommended place for storing paprika should be in a cool and dry place. This means the pantry and cupboard makes an excellent place for storing the spice.
When storing paprika, always use an airtight container that’s in excellent condition. This means there are no breaks in the container and the lids have no leaks. Just a small amount of air that gets into the container could potentially shorten their shelf life.
Also, since the pantry isn’t able to maintain a stable temperature throughout the year, moisture may start to build up in the container.
As for heat, while it may seem reasonable to place them under the sun to prevent moisture build-up, it can affect the taste of the spice. Paprika that is exposed to sunlight and other heat sources will start to lose its flavor and aroma rather quickly.
In addition, the heat and light from the sun will cause the paprika to lose its color. This spice is known for its bright red color. Exposure to heat and light will cause the spice to become dull in color.
Can You Freeze Paprika?
Yes, you can freeze paprika, but it’s highly not recommended. The spice will freeze perfectly fine, but the problem will be when it thaws. As it starts to thaw, it will cause condensation in the container. This will result in the paprika becoming moist which will make it become watery.
If you’re planning on adding paprika to a soup-based food or a recipe that requires blending, frozen paprika will be fine.
For using paprika as a seasoning on foods, it will not work. As you remove the spice from the freezer, due to the condensation, it will start to become a bit moist and clump together.
How To Keep Paprika Lasting Longer
It’s best to buy the spice as a whole. This will keep them fresh for a long time. Once you’re ready to use it, simply grind up the pepper and add it to your favorite meal.
If you rather have them grounded first, it’s important that the spice is kept sealed tight in an airtight container. Moisture is usually the cause for paprika going bad before it’s expected shelf life.
Also, make sure to keep the spice away from direct sunlight and other heat sources. The best place for storage is the pantry or cupboard. This is where it’s cool and dry- the perfect place for storing spices.
Is eating expired paprika safe?
Unlike food that expired and could cause food poisoning, expired paprika is safe to eat. Once the spice has passed its expiry date, the quality of it will deteriorate. If you do use expired paprika, you may find that it doesn’t have that full spiciness taste and the strong aroma like when it was fresh.