Long Term Storage for Spices

Went to Sams a while back, and picked up a cartload of spices. After getting them home, I realized I’d not be able to keep them long enough to get full use out of the containers, so I starting looking at options for breaking it down into smaller portions, or at least into a resealable container system.

Light and heat are two great methods for cooking, but are very bad for anything stored long term. Air is also a culprit in remove the flavor from my flavor enhancers, so vacuum sealing was a requirement as well. What I opted for was to repackage my spices into mason jars and then vacuum seal them with my Food Saver jar sealer attachments.

The process is simple:

  • Buy spices in bulk to save money


  • Portion out the spices into jars. A canning funnel is very handy for this. I’d also recommend smaller jars to allow smaller portions to be exposed when opening them for use. Next time, I’ll use pints and half-pints.
  • Wipe the rim of the jar to be sealed
  • Vac seal according to your vacuum sealer’s instructions.
  • Label each jar well
  • Store in a cool, dark place

That’s it!

Here is my end result:




While you are at it, be more careful than I was. Powdered spices can REALLY fly around a lot! Cleanup can be a bear!







  1. I know I should be a fan of storing in glass, but living new the New Madrid fault, I just won’t. That being said, I try and do two things to maximize my spices. First, I try and buy whole spices…whole peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, ect. Secondly, I use a triple layer method. The spices stay in their containers. I make a food saver bag, and drop an O2 absorber it it. Vacuum seal that bag, then into a quart mylar bag, which is vacuum sealed as well. Labeled with a sharpie, then into either a 5 gallon bucket or a large 3omm Ammo can. As good as glass? Probably not. But I won’t have to worry about sweeping my spices up and trying to salvage them picking out glass shards.

    Does it work? I don’t know…I’ve only been doing this a couple years…but I’m sure it’s better than nothing…

    1. “a couple of years” sounds like proof of an affective plan.

      And while it proves we ALL have something to prepare for (that is NOT a roving horde of zombies) no matter the location, I think I’ll keep my hurricanes, you can keep your fault line!

      Thanks for the alternative option!


  2. Even if I were worried about the New Madrid fault, I would still repackage in glass. There are 2 oz Ball canning jars. I would put the spices in those. I would then seal in the preferred method and wrap each tiny jar, wrap in bubble wrap or whatever. I would label the outside of the packaged and wrapped spices. Then, putting them all into a plastic bucket with a lid–taped on or a Gamma seal, I would not be afraid of breakage.

    I love the 2 oz canning jars. Tbey are handy for freezing, for storing anything in the refrigerator, shelf storage. They are little beauties.

  3. Too late now, but next time buy whole spices, not ground spice. All varieties will keep longer than they will when ground and you will find you need less of them for the same amount of flavour. Blend spice with a coffee grinder or a food processor – you will be amazed at how much better the spices taste & smell if you haven’t already you try this!

    Vacuum packing whole spice is still a good idea, I use vac bags to sub-divide larger amounts. Chances are that whole spices will be cheaper too.

    And for anyone who likes pepper, look for whole “Tellicherry Garbled black pepper” its so amazingly good it might be illegal! Definitely a good bartering item.

    1. I know whole spices are better, but the initial purchase of bulk spices was at a place with very little of it available in its whole form.

      The idea to stockpile spices was also a little spur of the moment when I saw the large containers…

      Thanks for the tips, and I’ll keep an eye out for the Tellicherry Garbled black pepper.


  4. Glad to be of any help; the Tellicherry pepper isn’t much hotter that your average supermarket stuff, but it has an intense flavour that cannot be described until you try it! Its my guilty little pleasure to sniff an open packet when I am in the pantry :)

    Its easier and sometimes cheaper to buy quality whole spices on-line. I am an Australian prepper and foodie – there are maybe 5 shops nationally with good quality spices! I just imported a year’s worth of Haberino chilli via Amazon for $15; I would have paid double for local garbage! You have to try a few on-line suppliers with small orders and pick a reliable one.

    1. Not sure what your growing possibilities are there, but have you ever tried dried papaya seeds as a black pepper substitute? I find they have the pepper bite wit ha hint of horseradish. Makes for a great addition to salads and beef dishes.

      And I’ve used online sources before for many things, just never thought about spices until recently. We all have gaps in our preps. I love the internet for allowing folks like you and I to meet and compare notes to help fill those gaps in :)

      And we grow Habaneros here. And my buddy, RidgeRunner, grows and eats ghost peppers (Bhut Jolokia). Seriously, EATS them. His wife is Thai, and he LOVES REALLY hot food. Habaneros, to him, are mildly warm. I believe his taste buds are gone :(


  5. Better idea is to use the food saver bags and vacume seal it down and you can store it more easily. I also portion it down to about 1/4 cup -1/2 cup per packet so I can open up small amount to use at a time, sometimes less depending on how often I use the spice. I have a bucket that I put them in to keep them all together and protect them from light etc.

  6. A tip if you’re using the food saver to vacumn-seal with powdery substances like spices…

    Put the spices into a smaller jar, put the lid on, and tighten the ring just enough to hold the lid in place.
    Place the small jar into a much bigger jar – like a pickle jar or bulk mayonnaise jar – and then vacumn-seal THAT one. It’ll suck the air out of both jars without sucking a bunch of spice (flour, sugar, etc) out too.

    1. Agreed, that’s a fantastic tip! does the lid on the smaller jar suck down & hold a vacuum when the larger jar is opened?

  7. I will definitely look into papaya seeds; I like the taste of horseradish too. The local expert doesn’t have them, could I just buy a whole papaya and sun dry the seeds?

    1. That’s how I get mine :)

      I currently have a four papaya tees , one in full fruit, the others are blooming, all volunteers from kitchen scraps…and the tree with fruit produces a fruit that tastes like vomit to me. But the seeds taste good, so I’m keeping it around. Plus the chickens and ducks eat the fruit.

      So, yes, just grab a fruit and dry the seeds from it. I like to wash them after taking them out, then rub them between in a towel of some sort to remove the skin that the are wrapped in. Not required, as far as I can tell, but in my case, removes the faint hint of vomit, since the skin seems to be part of the fruit. Then I let them air dry.

      Hope that wasn’t too much of a ramble…


  8. Ok, this was very informative.
    BUT, couldn’t you also just do a large purchase, then put in a ball jar, add an oxygen absorber, then seal it?
    The oxygen would be taken away to prevent chemical spoilage by oxygen. The nitrogen and other gases would not chemically react with the spices.
    Keep in the dark and no light based dmage to the spices.
    Any thoughts?

    1. Thanks for the kind words..

      I don’t see why what you described wouldn’t work…but then what prepper worth his salt (get it?) doesn’t have a vac sealer with a jar attachment? 😛

      Your way should work, though :) It’s how we all do many other containers that don’t have a nifty vac sealer attachment…


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