We strongly recommend replacement by the Best if Used by Date (available on some products), due to diminished flavor and visual characteristics. Spices have a long storage life — up to 2 to 5 years, depending on the spice and whether it is in whole or ground form. A rule of thumb is that whole spices (peppercorns, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, etc.) have the longest life, while ground spices and herbs in general are more fragile. The recommended shelf lives of some of our other products are as follows:
Proper storage of spices will ensure maximum flavor and color retention. Heat, light and moisture are all enemies of dried spices. Heat causes flavor loss, light will fade the naturally bright colors and moisture might cause ground and powdered spices to clump. Don’t measure or shake spices over open boiling pots. Keep spices in a cool, dry, and dark cupboard away from the range or any source of intense heat. Any of the red spices retain their color and are best protected from insects if stored in the refrigerator or freezer. These include paprika, chili powder and red pepper, among others. If you are using the Tone’s Chicken or Beef Soup Base, be sure to store in the refrigerator, and use within 6 months after opening. (HINT: Store in the freezer for a longer shelf life. To use, simply let the jar sit on the kitchen counter for 5 to 10 minutes to soften enough to spoon out the desired amount. Then return to freezer.).
This is a very common problem, due to the nature of these two products. Unfortunately, garlic and onion are very prone to absorbing any moisture. The product is still useable if you can break it up with a knife or re-pulverize in the blender.