When you discover a half-opened nutmeg jar in the corner of your cabinet, the common question that arises is, “How long does nutmeg last?” Since the “Best By” date doesn’t represent the spice’s real shelf life, it could be unclear what it means.
You’re not alone in asking that question, which is excellent news. Nevertheless, relax! I have everything you need to know about the shelf life of nutmeg, how to store it, and warning signals that it should no longer be used.
Give this post a brief read if you want to learn more about this Christmas spice!
Can nutmeg go bad?
Simply explained, nutmeg, whether it be whole or powdered, can spoil if incorrectly stored. In most cases, it will continue to provide flavor and scent for at least a year after its “Best By” date. It will continue to be safe to consume for a very long time beyond this date.
Your store-bought nutmeg will survive for many years if it is stored properly. Whether it is in-ground or whole form determines the precise shelf-life.
However, if not stored properly and maintained clean, nutmeg is very prone to mold formation. The spice ages more quickly than expected when kept in regions with direct sunlight, heat from the surroundings, and moisture.
How to store nutmeg?
Nutmeg should be kept properly wrapped in a dark, dry location away from any heat sources. The ideal place to store it in the kitchen is generally a cabinet or spice drawer, but if you have an open spice rack, you can also use it. Just make sure it’s placed out of the way of the sink, the stove, and other heat sources.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, even though keeping all of your spices in a drawer is probably the best storage option.
The main disadvantage is that you might overlook them or use them less frequently than you would like. And so you wind up with a half-opened nutmeg jar that you purchased five years ago and have only used twice since.
When it loses part of its effectiveness over time, it’s time to switch to a fresh bag. Cooking with such a bland flavor is pointless.
How long does nutmeg last?
The drying procedure used during manufacture gives store-bought nutmeg a fairly long shelf life. That bag of nutmeg in your cabinet can be used indefinitely if it is maintained properly. It will eventually begin to lose its flavor, scent, and strength though.
Every nutmeg product in a store has an expiration date printed on the label. This date indicates how long the producer anticipates the nutmeg to remain at its highest quality rather than necessarily how long it will be safe to use.
It keeps its optimum quality and flavor for roughly three to four years when stored properly. It’s most likely okay to eat outdated nutmeg if you don’t mind the recipe’s blandness.
It typically comes in two different forms. One is the ready-to-use, pre-ground variety, while the other is the whole nutmeg, which must be grated as you go. The surface of ground nutmeg is more susceptible to harming elements like heat, sunlight, and moisture than other spices are. As a result, it usually degrades far more quickly than its entire, fresh equivalent.
A pre-ground nutmeg packet is expected to remain fresh for two to three years. However, entire nutmeg seeds continue to remain at their finest for 3–4 years.
Can old nutmeg make you sick?
Nutmeg that has been stored properly but has gone bad is usually safe to eat. On the other hand, it is preferable to throw away a spice if it has come into touch with heat, moisture, or shows signs of mold on its surface.
Leaving aside the nearly nonexistent flavor, tainted nutmeg presents a significantly greater danger of food illness. When exposed to fungi, it is highly susceptible to mycotoxins contamination.
Mycotoxins are poisonous substances that irritate your throat, mouth, and nose. Its harmful consequences on the human body include everything from allergic reactions and poisoning to long-term conditions including liver cancer and immunological deficiencies.
It’s vital to know that mycotoxins when breathed or ingested at extremely low concentration levels, can be absorbed via the skin. In other words, a few milligrams of rotten nutmeg could be extremely dangerous to your health.
Your supply of nutmeg might not always last as long as you would like. So that you may better safeguard your health and the health of your family, it’s always vital to learn the symptoms of tainted nutmeg.
This is what happens to your brain when you consume too much.
How to tell if nugmet is good to consume?
If you want your spice collection to be as robust as possible, you must always have fresh nutmeg on hand. You may determine whether the spice is still suitable for the scrumptious and nutritious breakfasts you intend to prepare by doing these easy tests.
Bad Smell: There are two smells that can tell you whether your nutmeg is bad or not in terms of deterioration. Be sure to smell the bag before adding it to your recipe. They should be disposed of immediately if it has a musty, unappealing smell. Old nutmeg, on the other hand, adds little to no flavor to your cuisine and has a much milder scent.
Development of Mold: Mold and other organic growth can be aided by moist air, moist water, and especially the warmth of the kitchen. On the spice, fungal growth appears as a spongy, crowded surface. They should be taken out of your kitchen right away because it is no longer safe to use. There might not be a problem if you keep your bag completely dry and away from moisture and water.
Inadequate Potency: Potency is the deciding factor in deciding whether to use old nutmeg that looks and smells good.
You may taste and smell the ground version by rubbing a tiny bit between your fingers. Meanwhile, it’s important to grate some nutmeg seeds first to gauge their potency. If the spice is potent enough, it can be used to spice up your food. Otherwise, you should discard it because it won’t change the flavor profile of the dish if it tastes bland and scarcely discernible.
Here are some straightforward options if you’re unsure of how to use them. Both savory and sweet meals benefit from nutmeg. Use them in pies with apples or pumpkins.
Or include it in creamy foods like Alfredo sauce. It works well as a garnish for pumpkin spice lattes. It can be used in your dishes in a plethora of other ways.
In most cases, nutmeg stays fresh unless the water gets to it. Make careful to keep them properly to prevent this. This entails keeping it out of moisture, sunlight, and extreme heat in an airtight container. Furthermore, it thrives in a chilly, dark space.